The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today decided to accept Telstra's revised access undertakings for PSTN originating and terminating services (PSTN access) and the local carriage service (LCS) and has issued a final report on its assessment of these undertakings.
This confirms the ACCC's draft view, issued in October 2004, and is the first time the ACCC has formally accepted access undertakings for Telstra's main fixed network services.
The undertakings specify the price and some non-price terms and conditions proposed by Telstra for access to the PSTN access services over three financial years. The terms and conditions for the local carriage service (LCS) apply for one financial year.
These core services enable Telstra's competitors to provide local, long-distance, international, fixed-to-mobile and mobile-to-fixed calls.
"Acceptance of the PSTN access undertaking will result in progressively lower PSTN access rates for Telstra's competitors", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said. "The acceptance of the LCS undertakings was primarily motivated by the short term nature of the undertakings and the desirability of a review of the LCS declaration and associated pricing principles over this period".
Before the ACCC's decision to finalise its views on these undertakings, Telstra notified the ACCC that it would withdraw its undertaking for the provision of the unconditioned local loop service (ULLS). This undertaking had been rejected by the ACCC in its October draft report.
Telstra has submitted new revised ULLS undertakings, which, amongst other things, remove the proposed ULLS price adjustment mechanism that was previously found not to be reasonable.
"The ACCC accepts Telstra's withdrawal of the existing ULLS undertaking, which was seen as inadequate, however it is disappointed Telstra lodged revised ULLS undertakings without adequate consultation with the ACCC", Mr Samuel said.
In particular, the ACCC notes that there are significant increases in ULLS take up in prospect over the next one to two years, over and above what was previously estimated, which is likely to materially reduce the average costs of this service.
Copies of the ACCC's final report and other documentation relevant to the access undertakings (including the undertakings, Telstra's supporting submissions and other material) will be available on the ACCC website (see below).
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