The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to vary the Facilities Access Code (the Code) to ensure it continues to be a useful tool for industry members when negotiating access to the facilities of other carriers. The ACCC commenced a review of the Code in July 2012.

The Code was introduced in 1999 to encourage carriers to co-locate their mobile transmission towers and other facilities where possible. It contains conditions that must be included in access agreements for facilities and sets out procedures and processes that must be followed when requests for access are made by one carrier to another. 

The Code aims to make it easier for carriers to install their equipment on or in facilities owned by other carriers in a timely and fair manner.

Industry members indicated support for the Code in submissions made to the ACCC. There were changes suggested to update the Code’s provisions. After considering the submissions, the ACCC decided to make timeframes for accessing facilities a mandatory provision of the Code.

“A carrier will be required to comply with the timeframes in the Code when they receive a request for access to their facilities,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

“This will ensure all carriers are treated equally when they make a request.”

Amendments were made to the Code to account for legislative changes, including the introduction of the National Broadband Network, changes to the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the introduction of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The final decision and a copy of the Code with the ACCC’s amendments are available.