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Telstra appeals Australian Competition Tribunal wholesale decision


Telstra will appeal a determination by the Australian Competition Tribunal to overturn the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) decision to release Telstra from some wholesale local service regulation in the most competitive parts of metropolitan Australia.

Telstra Group General Counsel, Mr Will Irving, today said the Tribunal had misinterpreted the tests that apply in deciding whether the ACCC’s decision would be followed and had not taken into account the substantial evidence of real competition in metropolitan areas.

“Telecommunications competition in metropolitan and suburban Australia is intense, with some areas having eight or more competitors with infrastructure in their exchanges, providing wide choice for consumers and businesses,” Mr Irving said.

"This level of competition alone should be enough to show it is possible for other competitors to set up business and compete for customers without requiring regulated access to resale services - a position that was supported by the ACCC when it made its decision.

“In going against the ACCC’s decision, and essentially the ACCC’s approach to regulating access to telecommunications services, the Tribunal is effectively saying it is safer to keep regulating than to let competitive forces operate.”

Mr Irving said while regulatory agencies around the world were looking for ways to reduce red tape, if this decision were to hold it was difficult to see how unnecessary regulation could ever be rolled back.

“It was a disappointing decision and makes it practically impossible for the ACCC to update regulation as the market changes,” he said.

“Regulating where you do not need to can distort the market, hold up much needed infrastructure investment and, in the long term, have a negative impact on innovation and customer service.”


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