The power for NBN Co to offer such discounts is currently being argued at a Senate Committee hearing over the National Broadband Network Measures-Access Arrangement Bill 2010.
At the Senate Committee hearing, Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, suggested special pricing for larger ISPs should be done away with for a fair competitive market.
Optus is the second largest telco in Australia. The company said its large customer-base actually helped the supplier, NBN Co, in terms of efficiency and reduced operating costs through bulk buying of services.
"We've debated that internally, and there are pros and cons around that,” Optus director of government and corporate affairs, Maha Krishnapillai, said. “What we're trying to do is try to mirror normal commercial negotiations.
“As the second largest player, we think there would be advantages, clearly, in us being able to say we are more efficient in terms of buying,” he said.
But Internet Society of Australia director, Paul Brookes, shot back at support for volume discounts.
He argued since NBN Co is meant to have automated provisioning this should translate to efficiency across larger and smaller ISPs.
With the Parliament passing the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 last year, any volume discounts offered by NBN Co will have to be approved by the ACCC.
NBN Co has tried to downplayed the concern over volume discounts claiming smaller players that can offer efficiencies, in billing for instance, may also be entitled to special pricing.
An NBN Co representative at the hearing stressed while volume itself can play a part in discounting prices for a provider the process of granting special treatment is very transparent.
“Submissions [for discounts] are available for all customers to see publicly on the Internet,” the NBN Co representative said. “It is not happening behind closed doors, it’s all in the public and scrutinised by the ACCC.”