Telstra separation bill delayed

Bill to see Telstra structurally or functionally separated has been delayed from discussions in the Senate for today

The Senate has delayed the introduction of the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 today (12 May).

The Bill, originally tabled for discussion today, has since disappeared from the Orders of the Day listing in the Senate's Notice Papers. A spokesperson for the Senate Table office at the Australian Parliament House confirmed that it had been delayed, but couldn't say whether it would be re-tabled for this week.

The Bill has been dropped in favour of a discussion of the Tax Laws Amendment (2010 Measures No. 1) Bill 2010.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment would see greater powers delivered to industry watchdogs the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). It would also see Telstra's wholesale and retail arms structurally separated or, if the telco refuses, functionally separated in order to provide equal access for service providers to Telstra's networks.

The Bill has been delayed from entry into the Senate several times, angering the Federal Government and Telstra's competitors.

The office of the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, was contacted for comment, but an answer could not be provided at time of writing.

In related news, a spokesperson for the Senate Select Committee office at the Australian Parliament House told Computerworld Australia that the Senate Select Committee for the National Broadband Network (NBN) may request an extension for the delivery of its final report on the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network.

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