The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has welcomed the Internet peering agreement reached at the weekend between Telstra and Optus. Optus was the last of the three Internet Access Providers named in the ACCC's Competition Notice, issued on 17 June 1998, to reach an agreement with Telstra.

Telstra had signed a contract with approximately two weeks ago and had reached an agreement with OzEmail in late May. 'This is an excellent result for the entire Internet industry,' Mr Rod Shogren, Commissioner with responsibility for telecommunications, said today. 'By forcing Telstra to sign reciprocal agreements with competing IAPs, the ACCC has opened the Internet industry to even greater competition.' He said in light of the recent agreement between Telstra and Optus, the Commission had decided on 22 June 1998 to withdraw the Notice, as it had achieved the desired effect of ensuring Telstra dealt competitively with other IAPs.

Mr Shogren warned that the ACCC remained concerned about the ability of new entrants and smaller IAPs to reach agreements with Telstra and other competitors. 'The Internet industry is growing at a rapid pace with new companies entering everyday. The ACCC wants to make sure that these companies are not unfairly hindered by the actions of existing IAPs such as Telstra and Optus.

'Accordingly, the ACCC will be keeping a close eye on developments in the Internet industry to ensure there is no repetition of the conduct complained of in the Competition Notice issued on 17 June 1998'.