The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Thursday it has approved the deal between NBN Co and SingTel Optus to migrate Optus’ HFC subscribers to the NBN and the decommission parts of Optus’ HFC network.
The decision confirms a draft decision issued by the ACCC in May.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the consumer watchdog was satisfied that the public benefits of the deal outweighed any potential downsides that could result from the agreement.
“In coming to its final view the ACCC took account of a substantial amount of public and confidential information in addition to submissions received from interested parties in response to the draft decision, ”Sims said in a statement.“The ACCC remains of the view that the public benefits, which are clear and quantifiable, on balance outweigh the likely detriment.”
The chief benefit of the NBN Co/Optus deal, announced in June 2011, is eliminating the cost of offering duplicate service, and reducing the cost of migrating Optus’ HFC customers to the NBN, the ACCC said.
The ACC acknowledged concerns over the lack of fixed-line broadband competition in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, which critics say is essential to ensure that NBN Co has the commercial incentive to maintain and improve service performance, and that its customers have somewhere to go if they don’t.
But Sims said there were “unique reasons to conclude that the detriments are likely to be considerably less than usually expected.”