26 September 2023

ACCC puts telcos on the wire

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a public inquiry into whether nine wholesale telecommunications services should continue to be regulated.

ACCC Commissioner, Anna Brakey said the nine services supported the provision of broadband, voice and data transmission services.

Ms Brakey said access to telecommunications services in Australia is usually unregulated unless the services are ‘declared’.

“Once a service is declared, the supplier of that service must allow other providers to access it upon request,” Ms Brakey said.

“The ACCC can also set price and non-price terms and conditions of access to declared services, including a maximum price.”

She said the nine services to be examined were subject to current declarations that would expire in 2024.

Ms Brakey said the ACCC was calling for community input on the declarations, through a discussion paper, until 12 July.

“Broadly, these services enable access to Telstra’s legacy access network, interconnection of networks for the purpose of voice calls, the resale of analogue fixed line phone services, data transmission, and ADSL resale,” the Commissioner said.

“Our inquiry will consider whether ongoing regulation of these declared services promotes the long-term interests of Australians.

“We want to know if recent developments including investments in optical fibre, the completion of the NBN and declining usage of Telstra’s copper network mean that competition is protecting customers and what that means about whether or how we should regulate these services.”

Ms Brakey said the ACCC would also look at the impact of newer technologies such as instant messaging and video conferencing apps on relevant telecommunications services, and what it meant for regulation.

The ACCC’s 68-page Public inquiry into the declaration of the domestic transmission capacity service, fixed line services and domestic mobile terminating access service discussion paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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