The ACCC has today released a draft report proposing that its declaration, or regulation, of Australia’s Domestic Transmission Capacity Service (DTCS) continue for a further five years, after the current arrangement expires on 31 March 2019.

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.

The ACCC regulates transmission services in areas where there is a lack of competition between providers, so that phone and data services can be delivered to consumers at affordable prices. The regulated transmission service is referred to as the DTCS.

The draft report forms part of a public inquiry under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 examining whether regulation of the DTCS should be extended.

“Regulating the DTCS helps ensure access to backhaul where competition is limited, which can be particularly the case in outer metropolitan and regional areas,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

“This regulation has promoted competition and efficient investment, as well as contributed to lower prices and greater choice for Australian consumers.”

“Extending our declaration for a further five years will allow time for the rollout of the National Broadband Network to be completed. The NBN is likely to both complement and compete with existing DTCS services.” 

The ACCC’s draft report also proposes to end regulation of 137 metropolitan and 27 regional exchange service areas (ESAs), where the ACCC is satisfied there is now effective competition due to new investment in transmission infrastructure.

The ACCC is also proposing to update the DTCS service description, which sets out which types of transmission services can be classified and regulated.

The draft report proposes separate service categories for mobile backhaul transmission and common bandwidth capacities.

Stakeholders’ comments are sought by 1 February 2019 and a final decision is due by 31 March 2019.

More information on the DTCS and the ACCC’s draft report is available at Domestic transmission capacity service declaration inquiry 2018-2019