ACCC commences a review of the Domestic Transmission Capacity Service and fixed line services

11 July 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has commenced declaration inquiries for the Domestic Transmission Capacity Service (DTCS) and six fixed line services.

The DTCS is a type of transmission service, often referred to as backhaul. Transmission services are high capacity wholesale services that carry large volumes of voice, data and video traffic. The DTCS is often used by telecommunications companies to carry the combined traffic of separate services across long distances.

The current DTCS declaration covers most transmission routes in Australia, other than where the ACCC has found effective competition between transmission providers.

The six declared fixed line services under review are:

  • the unconditioned local loop service (ULLS)
  • the line sharing service (LSS)
  • the public switched telephone network originating access (PSTN OA)
  • the public switched telephone network terminating access (PSTN TA)
  • the local carriage service (LCS); and
  • the wholesale line rental (WLR) service.

The fixed line services allows other telecommunications companies to use Telstra's existing copper network facilities to provide voice and broadband services to retail customers.

“Since the last time we declared these services in 2009, there have been important changes in the Australian telecommunications industry,” ACCC Commissioner Joe Dimasi said.

“The reviews will assist the ACCC in determining whether the DTCS and the fixed line services should remain regulated to ensure the long-term interests of end-users are met.”

The DTCS declaration inquiry will determine whether the DTCS should continue to be regulated. If the ACCC decides to continue to regulate the DTCS, the ACCC will commence a separate inquiry in early 2014 into the prices and other terms and conditions that should apply to the declared service.

The ACCC is also formally commencing an inquiry into the terms on which fixed line services are supplied.

Further information about the DTCS and fixed line services can be found on our consumer fact sheets webpage. Details of submissions dates and inquiry processes for these inquiries can be found on links provided below.

Commencement of Declaration inquiries

Declaration inquiry for the DTCS

The last DTCS declaration inquiry was in 2009. The current DTCS declaration inquiry invites submissions on a range of issues relevant to the contemporary transmission market, including:

  • The appropriate scope of DTCS regulation, including whether routes that are currently regulated should continue to be regulated or not and whether routes that are not regulated require regulation
  • The adequacy of the existing DTCS service description
  • The impact of the NBN, if any, on the DTCS market
  • Whether there are issues regarding access to facilities in relation to the DTCS
  • The length of the regulatory period if the DTCS is to continue to be regulated

The discussion paper for the DTCS declaration inquiry is available at the DTCS Declaration Inquiry webpage. Submissions are invited by 30 August 2013.

Declaration inquiry for the fixed line services

The ACCC has issued a Discussion Paper to commence the declaration review of fixed line services and is seeking submissions on a range of issues, including:

  • Whether continued declaration of the fixed line services would be in the long term interests of end users
  • Whether the existing service descriptions for these services are appropriate
  • Whether recent developments in the industry indicate that new or different resale services should be declared
  • Whether the ACCC’s proposed assessment framework is appropriate for assessing whether declaring services is in the long term interest of end users
  • Whether the ACCC should regulate resale services over the NBN.

The discussion paper for the fixed line services declaration inquiry is available at the Fixed Services Review webpage. Submissions are invited by 23 August 2013.

Commencement of Final Access Determination (FAD) inquiry for the Fixed Line Service

The ACCC has commenced a public inquiry into making final access determinations (FADs) for fixed line services. By commencing this inquiry now, the ACCC is able to gather necessary data with a view to publishing a discussion paper later this year. This discussion paper will seek submissions on the terms and conditions that will be applied to any fixed line services that are declared as a result of the declaration inquiry process.

Further information on the FAD inquiry is available at the Fixed Services Review webpage.

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