The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued a draft decision proposing to grant Telstra exemptions from its obligations to supply public switched telephone network originating access (PSTN OA) services in five CBD areas and parts of metropolitan Australia.

The proposed exemptions, which cover 15 CBD and 248 metropolitan exchange service areas (ESAs), are not as broad as those requested by Telstra. Further, the draft decision relates only to wholesale voice services, not broadband services which are not subject to open access regulation.

The proposed exemption is consistent with the ACCC's recent decision to grant Telstra conditional exemptions in respect of the supply of the LCS and WLR in 248 ESAs*.

The ACCC's draft view is that PSTN OA services no longer represent an "enduring bottleneck" in the areas subject to exemption. This is primarily because access seekers are able to use their own DSLAM or MSAN facilities to provide voice services by making direct use of Telstra's unbundled copper through the declared Unconditioned Local Loop Service (ULLS). In the case of the CBD areas, the ACCC notes there is also significant alternative infrastructure present in these areas for supplying voice services.

The proposed exemptions would be subject to a number of draft conditions dealing with impediments faced by some access seekers when seeking to use the ULLS. These conditions are consistent with those the ACCC placed on the granting of the LCS and WLR exemptions.

The ACCC's draft decision on Telstra's exemption applications will be available on the ACCC website.

The ACCC is inviting interested parties to respond to the issues raised in the draft decision by 26 September 2008.