Telstra Looks For Escape Clause With New Lines

  • ACCC asks for public enquiry
  • Telstra says it is only for new sub divisions
  • Time relief asked to accommodate unforseen delays

Telstra claims technical issues will not allow it to give access to competitors to new lines in Greenfields suburbs.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has commenced a public inquiry into varying the fixed line final access determinations.

Telstra has requested that the ACCC vary the final access determinations (FADs) for the declared wholesale line rental (WLR), local carriage service (LCS) and a subset of the public switched telephone network originating access service (PSTN OA) called preselect and override services.

Telstra is required to provide access for competitors to these declared services. Telstra has requested relief until March 2013 from providing this access, where the services are typically supplied in newly developed estates (greenfields) using the national broadband network (NBN). There is no existing copper telecommunications infrastructure in a greenfields estate.

Telstra made this request based on its temporary technical inability to provide access to a wholesale voice service over the NBN in greenfield estates until at least September 2012. At that time, Telstra proposes to make its mass market wholesale and retail NBN services available.

However, Telstra has requested that the ACCC provide regulatory relief for 12 months to accommodate any unforeseen delays in launching these services. Telstra expects that this issue will impact a small number of end-users in NBN greenfield estates. Although end-users in these estates may have access to voice services supplied by alternate retail service providers.

The ACCC’s preliminary view is to vary the FADs and remove the obligation to supply the declared WLR, LCS and PSTN OA preselect and override services over NBN greenfield estates until 31 March 2013. If the ACCC decides to vary the FADs in this manner, the temporary removal of the obligation to supply these services would apply to all telecommunications providers.

To assist interested parties, the ACCC has prepared a discussion paper that sets out background information and highlights the key issues for the inquiry. It includes the ACCC’s preliminary view and questions on which the ACCC is seeking submissions.

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