Telstra case with ACCC, Vocus and iiNet subsidiaries moves to Melbourne

Hearing date set for Thursday, February 20 at the Victorian Federal Court

A hearing date of February 20 in the Victorian Federal Court has been set for Telstra's (ASX: TLS) case with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Vocus Communications (ASX: VOC) and iiNet (ASX: IIN) subsidiaries. The decision follows a first directions hearing in the New South Wales Federal Court today.

The case centres around an exchange and underground duct access pricing dispute.

The price increase was applied under the terms of a wholesale contract with Vocus Fibre, Adam Internet and Chime Communications.

However, the three parties appealed the price increase to the ACCC.

The ACCC determined that it had jurisdiction to act as arbitrator in the dispute. Telstra responded by lodging judicial review proceedings against the consumer watchdog and the ISPs.

Presiding in the NSW Federal Court, Justice Flick asked Telstra’s legal team why the case should be given precedence over others in the Federal Court given it was a “squabble” about the terms and conditions of underground facility access.

Telstra’s lawyers replied that the case is of interest for the telecommunications industry and could have ramifications for the way business is conducted.

A legal team representing Vocus Fibre, Adam Internet and Chime Communications said the agreement with Telstra was not binding because the rates that were charged for exchange and underground duct access pricing were not agreed to.

In January 2014, a Telstra spokesman told Computerworld Australia that the increase was based on the consumer price index and the company believed it was binding under the contract.

“We have a commercial contract with Adam, Chime and Vocus and there is no suggestion that we have breached it, so there is nothing for the ACCC to arbitrate when it comes to these charges,” the spokesman said at the time.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags acccfederal courtVocus CommunicationsiiNetTelstra

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1 Comment

greed

1

as an insider (of which party eh) i can tell you Telstra legal is a monster gone wild.

In the same way technical people run circles around non-technical people (for no reason other then they can) lawyers do the same to their clients.

Although I'm not privy to this particular matter I can say without a doubt greed is the overwhelming interest at play. No some fancy principal of law. Of course a lawyer is going to say that business practices could change. That's what happens when someone stuffs up. Telecommunication wholesale contracts are immensely complex documents that riddled with errors. Of course it contains problems.

But you know rather then renegotiate on equitable terms one of the parties is holding out for more cash.

Though neither side is morally superior to the other.

Though can we judge? With the massive amounts of money these people earn its little wonder they fight in the way they do. When directors and consuls getting several hundred thousand a year (juniors, and seniors getting way more) with massive bonuses and share interests.

And its not just the guys in the telcos. Lawyers may complain about what they make in the first couple of years only because they see the waterfall of cash that you get once you become a assoc or higher.

Greedy people upset that others are getting more then them.

PS: Come on Computerworld - fix your bloody comments section with Chrome. I've disabled all my extensions and yet continue to get login errors. Using IE like some peasant is not the outcome you should be subjecting your readership.

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