ACA moves to encourage telco competition

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A temporary exemption scheme aimed at helping new providers compete in the fixed phone market has been introduced by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).

A temporary exemption scheme aimed at helping new providers compete in the fixed phone market has been introduced by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).

The move was designed to make it easier for new carriage service providers (CSPs) enter the market, according to an ACA statement.

Bob Horton, acting chairman at the ACA, said that CSPs had to prove the exemption would benefit users in an area. The exemption is only available to CSPs with a small share of the market in a specified geographic area.

“To be eligible for a temporary exemption a CSP must prove that it does not supply fixed telephone services on a medium or large scale in the area in which the exemption is sought,” Horton said.

To enable the temporary exemption, the ACA has varied its Customer Service Guarantee (CSG). The CSG required carriage service providers to meet timeframes for telephone connections and repairs, as well as keeping appointments with residential and small business customers.

A 2001 ACA report had found that the CSG could be a barrier to new service providers, according to the statement. It argued that this could reduce potential customer benefits such as price, quality, choice and innovation.

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