Industry guidance on the carrier separation rules

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In April 2022, the ACCC published draft explanatory material relating to the carrier separation rules in Part 8 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Telecommunications Act).

Part 8 of the Telecommunications Act requires a controller of local access lines serving residential customers to supply eligible services via the lines on a wholesale-only basis. This means that a company that controls a network cannot itself supply retail services over it unless an exemption applies.

Network operators may seek to be exempt from the wholesale-only requirement via two processes: a class exemption or a functional separation undertaking. While these processes relax the wholesale-only requirement, they do not remove the requirement for operators to offer wholesale access on non-discriminatory terms.

We have prepared guidance to assist network operators understand:

  • how the carrier separation rules apply to their businesses
  • what steps they may need to take to bring their operations into alignment with the rules, and
  • how the ACCC will consider whether they are complying with the rules.

Compliance with the carrier separation rules in Part 8 of the Telecommunications Act is a carrier licence condition and the consequences of failing to comply may include penalties of up to $10 million for each instance of non-compliance.

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