Prices for Christmas Island transmission services to be examined

19 December 2018

The ACCC has today issued binding rules of conduct (BROC) setting out interim prices for new wholesale transmission services to Christmas Island.

The rules set interim price terms for access to regulated Domestic Transmission Capacity Services (DTCS) which will be provided over recently-constructed long-distance subsea cable infrastructure.

Transmission services, also known as backhaul, are high capacity wholesale services that carry large volumes of voice, data and video traffic, often over long distances.

Vocus Communications has built a wholesale transmission link to Christmas Island as part of its Australia Singapore Cable project, which links Perth to Singapore. It plans to provide domestic transmission services to Christmas Island from February 2019.

The current national regulated prices for transmission services, set in 2016 and due to expire at the end of 2019, do not take into account the higher costs of building and operating long distance subsea cables.

The BROC issued today by the ACCC, which followed an application by Vocus, sets interim prices for this new service to Christmas Island. This arrangement will remain in place until permanent prices are determined during a public inquiry process, which commences today.

“It is important for competition and investment that access prices reflect the costs of providing a service, including a reasonable return on investment,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

“We look forward to hearing stakeholder views on the permanent prices that should apply to this new transmission service.”

The ACCC will examine the interim prices contained in the BROC for the Christmas Island transmission services in its public inquiry.

In addition, the ACCC is launching a separate inquiry into pricing for the national regulated DTCS network, the current arrangement for which expires on 31 December 2019.

The ACCC intends to run a combined public consultation process covering both inquiries and will release a more detailed consultation and position paper in early 2019. 

Further information is available at Christmas Island Binding Rules of Conduct (Vocus)

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