ACCC begins inquiry into regulation of telco services

The inquiry will focus on nine services, which are subject to declarations set to expire in 2024

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has initiated a public inquiry to examine whether nine wholesale telecommunications services supporting broadband, voice, and data transmission should continue to be regulated. In Australia, telecommunication services are typically unregulated unless they are “declared,” which requires the service provider to allow access to other providers upon request. The ACCC can also set price and non-price terms and conditions for access to declared services.

The inquiry will focus on nine services, which are currently subject to declarations set to expire in 2024. These services include access to Telstra’s legacy access network, interconnection of networks for voice calls, resale of analogue fixed-line phone services, data transmission, and ADSL resale. However, services regulated under the National Broadband Network’s (NBN) Special Access Undertaking or high-speed networks other than the NBN are not part of this inquiry.

The objective of the inquiry is to determine whether the ongoing regulation of these declared services is in the long-term interests of Australians. The ACCC aims to assess whether recent developments, such as investments in optical fibre, the completion of the NBN, and declining usage of Telstra’s copper network, have resulted in sufficient competition to protect customers. The impact of newer technologies like instant messaging and video conferencing apps on relevant telecommunications services will also be examined.

Upon completion of the inquiry, the ACCC will decide whether to extend, vary, revoke, allow to expire, or make new declarations for each service based on its findings.



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