The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recently received notification of five telecommunications access disputes under Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act 1974. These disputes relate to Telstra's supply of the Line Sharing Service (LSS), Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and Local Carriage Service (LCS) respectively.
The following parties have each separately notified the ACCC of a LSS access dispute with Telstra:
- EFTel Limited notified on 18 December 2007
- Wideband Networks Pty Ltd notified on 9 January 2008, and
- Primus Telecommunications Pty Ltd notified on 17 January 2008.
The LSS involves an access provider providing a voiceband PSTN service to an end-user, whilst providing access to another carrier (the access seeker) to simultaneously provide services to the same end-user over the high-frequency portion of the unconditioned local loop.
Digiplus Pty Ltd notified the ACCC of a telecommunications access dispute on 20 December 2007 concerning the WLR service. The dispute relates to the price that Telstra provides WLR to Digiplus.
The WLR service allows access seekers to resell the basic line rental that allows an end-user to connect to the traditional voice network, make and receive voice calls and have a telephone number.
Telstra notified the ACCC of an access dispute with Digiplus on 24 January 2008 concerning its supply of LCS to Digiplus – and specifically the untimed local call for the supply of the LCS.
The LCS is a service for the supply of an end to end voice grade carriage service between two points within a standard zone. It effectively allows access seekers to resell local calls to end-users.
The ACCC has commenced the arbitration processes for these access disputes. Given that the legislation contemplates that arbitrations be conducted in private, the ACCC will not be making any public comment at this stage.
All five disputes were notified to the ACCC under Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act 1974.