David Nielsen

ACCC agrees with proposals to break up NBN Co

THE nation's competition watchdog has backed breaking up the National Broadband Network in order to sell it off in the future.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims made the comments during a speech at a communications industry function in Sydney on Monday.

Mr Sims said he agreed with proposals before the Abbott government to "disaggregate" the NBN Co, despite the government indicating it was not a current priority.

He said he had noted the challenges of ensuring the roll-out go ahead expeditiously, but that NBN Co should put in place arrangements for the "future separation" of the government-owned corporation "at an appropriate time".

"While putting in place such arrangements may come at some initial cost, the benefit of doing so when it comes to separating the business in future will be far in excess," Mr Sims said.

He said if the NBN Co was to be sold off, it should first be split up, as "after that time, it is highly unlikely that separation will ever occur".

Mr Sims said the NBN Co should be privatised in the future, but while the government could "maximise proceeds" from selling the company as a whole, there was "too much at stake", citing potential future competition issues if it was not split up first.

"I will always prefer competition between infrastructure providers rather than entrench a monopoly," he said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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