NBN gives ground on lockdown CVC relief in response to telco CEO letter

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The company responsible for the National Broadband Network has responded to the letter sent to it by five telco CEOs last week.

The CEOs of Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus, and Aussie Broadband said they were appealing to NBN’s sense of social responsibility and wanted the wholesaler to do more than the current CVC relief program is offering, citing increasing costs to acquire capacity.

The telcos asked for a retrospective change to the program to have May 2021 usage as a baseline, and to calculate the credit on each telco’s individual overage charge and not on the overall industry overage, as it currently occurs.

At the time, NBN said it was “unfair and unrealistic” for the telcos to expect Australian taxpayers to stump up additional subsidies and provide bigger profits to telcos — but that stance has clearly changed.

On Friday, NBN said it would be calculating CVC relief for each telco individually from a May 2021 baseline for additional data above 25% annual growth rate. NBN will credit retailers for 50% of the usage AU$8 per Mbps overage charge. NBN would also be calculating credit in arrears and it could extend into 2022 if pandemic health orders remain in effect.

“NBN Co’s new methodology for calculating COVID relief credit, with May 2021 as the baseline, will mean even greater support by NBN Co for internet retailers on top of the significant support already provided,” it said.

“Internet retailers’ exposure to overage in May 2021 was uniquely and artificially suppressed by a range of factors including: The introduction of additional CVC inclusions on 1 May; the peak of NBN Co’s Focus on Fast rebates and inclusions, and lower overall internet use following an end to the previous lockdown period.”

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