ACCC releases draft reports on transmission and fixed line network regulation

13 December 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently reviewing the scope of its regulation of telecommunications services. It has today released draft reports that propose to largely maintain the existing regulation of wholesale services supplied using Telstra’s copper network, other fixed line infrastructure and transmission routes.

The current declaration for transmission services (known as the Domestic Transmission Capacity Service or DTCS) expires in March 2014 and the declarations for the six fixed line services expire in July 2014. In addition, the ACCC considers it is important to review the scope of regulation in the context of significant recent changes in Australia’s telecommunications industry and the broader technological, commercial and policy environment.

Together these regulated transmission and fixed line services allow retail telecommunications service providers to use Telstra’s copper network, other fixed line infrastructure and transmission routes to provide a range of retail fixed line telephone and broadband services to Australian consumers. Transmission is also used in carrying voice, data, video and other communications traffic.

The ACCC proposes to continue regulating transmission services and the six fixed line services for another five years until 2019.

“Regulating these services has promoted competition over bottleneck infrastructure and contributed to lower prices and greater choice for Australian consumers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The regulation of these services will support continuing competition and efficient investment.”

To ensure that regulation is only applied where it is necessary to promote effective competition, the ACCC is proposing some adjustments to the scope of the regulation of the DTCS and fixed line services.

For DTCS, the ACCC is proposing to adopt a more comprehensive methodology for assessing competition on particular routes. The ACCC has applied these new criteria for assessing whether competition on transmission routes is effective to determine which routes should be regulated. This has resulted in 112 additional metropolitan exchange service areas and eight additional regional routes being removed from regulation. The ACCC has also decided that three presently unregulated regional routes be re-regulated.

More information on the DTCS and the ACCC’s draft report is available on the DTCS Declaration Inquiry webpage.

For the fixed line services, the ACCC is proposing to implement changes to clarify that the resale voice services that are provided using the National Broadband Network (NBN) are not regulated.

“This recognises industry’s expectation that there will be sufficient competition in the wholesale market for these services when they are supplied using NBN infrastructure,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC is also proposing to regulate resale voice services supplied in CBD areas where infrastructure-based competition has proven not to be sufficiently effective.”

More information on the fixed line services and the ACCC’s draft report is available on the Fixed Services Review webpage.

The ACCC anticipates releasing a discussion paper on pricing issues for the fixed services in the second quarter of 2014. Further information on the ACCC’s inquiry into making access determinations is available at the Fixed Services Review webpage.

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