The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has today released an issues paper to begin seeking feedback from industry and consumers as part of its market study of the communications sector.
The paper calls for comment on a range of matters that may affect competition, the efficient operation of markets, and investment incentives over the next five years and beyond.
“This market study provides an opportunity to examine competition in Australia’s evolving communications markets, recognising the significant changes in how communications services are supplied and used,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“The study will assist our understanding of how these trends are affecting competition and ensure regulatory settings remain responsive to drive good consumer outcomes.”
Key matters to be covered by the study include:
- the need to manage significant demand for data, expected to more than double each year for the next few years
- the transition to the NBN and what this means for competition and meeting consumer expectations
- the relationship between mobile and fixed-line networks
- industry consolidation and the transition to a new market structure
- the emergence of new technologies and delivery platforms.
Submissions are invited until 14 October 2016. The ACCC expects to release draft findings for comment in mid-2017 before publishing a final report in late 2017.
The issues paper and further information on the market study is available at: Communications sector market study
Notes to editors
The ACCC has set up an online consultation hub which includes information summaries to assist consumers, businesses, and smaller retail service providers to submit their views. The ACCC will examine information collected from submissions and through further targeted consultation including specific information requests and potentially, public forums.
The ACCC has also today commenced an inquiry into whether to declare a mobile roaming service. The roaming inquiry is being undertaken separately to the market study so the roaming declaration question can be resolved ahead of the market study’s conclusion. Broader issues in relation to the mobile sector will still be explored in the market study.
The market study was announced by ACCC Chairman Rod Sims on 4 August 2016 and has already attracted interest from a wide range of stakeholders.
The market study will not examine issues which are the subject of other concurrent inquiries into specific communication issues, including the Productivity Commission inquiry into the future direction of the Universal Service Obligation.
About market studies
The ACCC uses market studies for a variety of reasons to support its various functions. Market studies enable the identification of competition issues, market problems, and possible solutions. Alternately, a market study may confirm competition in the relevant markets is functioning effectively and no action is needed.
The ACCC has been increasingly using market studies as a tool for this purpose. It has recently completed the East Coast Gas Inquiry and is currently undertaking market studies of the cattle and beef markets, the new car retailing industry and the dairy sector.
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