He told a conference in Sydney on Monday that NBN plans were more expensive than the equivalent ADSL plans, pointing out that an ADSL Internet and voice plan with 100Gb of data cost about $50 a month.
And, Sims added, an ADSL plan with unlimited data was available for about $60.
The wholesale cost of accessing the NBN to supply a 12Mbps service — which many ISPs no longer offer — had increased by leaps and bounds and was now almost the cost of a 50Mbps service. "There is a fundamental question of fairness here for those on low incomes,” Sims said.
“If the wholesale standards are high, retail service providers can offer strong service commitments to their customers. However, if any of these activities are not up to scratch, retailers and, more importantly, the consumer will bear the pain,” Sims said.
“We also believe NBN Co’s entry-level services should be anchored to existing ADSL pricing. This is only fair to consumers because they have no choice but to move to the NBN as their existing services are being withdrawn.
“But more importantly, consumers that already want the higher speeds that the NBN makes possible also stand to benefit from pricing that reflects the additional value.”
Sims reiterated the ACCC's view that competition considerations should have greater weight in managing and allocating spectrum.
“We know that spectrum is a scarce but essential resource for operators. The amount of spectrum held by an operator is a key factor that will determine the price, quality and coverage of its services. As such, it is a critical driver of competition in downstream markets,” he said.
“We must all understand that in bidding for spectrum, companies will have as much incentive to buy spectrum to keep it from their competitors as they do to use it. It is completely naïve not to realise this.”