ACCC to freeze access pricing

Prices on hold while it reviews the pricing regime for the first time in 12 years

The ACCC is to hold current pricing principles and indicative prices for fixed line services until 31 December 2010 while it carries out a review into telecommunications access pricing.

The “critical” review of the pricing principles would be the first since 1997, ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

“Since this time the telecommunications regulatory, technological and competitive landscape, have and continue to evolve, and a review is timely," he said in a statement.

"Industry continues to raise issues regarding the revaluation and hypothetical optimisation of existing network assets which are key to the current pricing principles, and a review is likely to be well accepted by the sector. It will draw a line in the sand and address the pricing principles afresh for the new environment."

Samuel said the review and current prices would apply to the unconditioned local loop service (ULLS), the line sharing service (LSS) and the public switched telephone network originating access (PSTN OA) service.

Prices would also remain fixed on the public switched telephone network terminating access (PSTN TA) service, the local carriage service (LCS) and the wholesale line rental (WLR) service.

"This will provide as much certainty as possible to industry and consumers while the fundamental approach to pricing is being reviewed," Mr Samuel said.

The ACCC is currently inviting for submissions to the pricing review, and these are due by 26 February 2010, and can be lodged at appreview@accc.gov.au.

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