ACCC further denies Telstra's copper network protection

Uncertainty over access to services during a transitory period could harm competition and investment

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has denied Telstra’s attempt to prevent competitors from utilising their copper networks to provide broadband and fixed voice services, extending their May determination on the issue for a further five years.

Today’s ACCC decision is a blow for Telstra, which initially tried to bar Optus from extending the reach of its services through Telstra’s copper network in December 2007.

Under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and Telecommunications Act 1997, Telstra must allow other telcos access to their Unconditioned Local Loop Service (ULLS) and Local Line Service (LLS) to provide services to their retail customers.

The ACCC launched Federal proceedings against Telstra in March for breach of its SAOs, and in May ruled that Telstra must allow Optus access to its network.

ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel said today that the government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) will have a major impact on the regulatory environment for fixed telecommunication services, and uncertainty over access to services during a transitory period could harm competition and investment.

"The ACCC considers there is a need for as much regulatory certainty as possible regarding the access arrangements that apply to the fixed network services for all industry participants," Samuel said.

Optus has also welcomed the ACCC’s decision.

"The extension of the existing declarations is a sensible and measured approach and will be of great assistance in providing regulatory certainty to all participants in the telecommunications industry during a period of significant change and uncertainty," an Optus spokesperson said.

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