ACCC issues fixed line service discussion papers

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ACCC issues fixed line service discussion papers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued two discussion papers in relation to fixed line service exemption applications from Telstra.

This brings the total number of exemption applications from Telstra currently being assessed by the ACCC to seven.

The first discussion paper relates to Telstra's applications for exemption from the standard access obligations for the public switched telephone network originating service (PSTN OA). Telstra has sought exemption in a total of 404 exchange service areas (ESAs), comprising 17 ESAs in CBD areas and 387 ESAs in metropolitan areas.

The second discussion paper relates to Telstra's applications for exemption from the standard access obligations for the local carriage service (LCS) and wholesale line rental (WLR) service in 16 ESAs in metropolitan Australia. These exemption applications follow Telstra's earlier applications for LCS and WLR exemptions in 371 ESAs, lodged with the ACCC in July.

Graeme Samuel, ACCC Chairman, said Telstra submits that there is sufficient competitive infrastructure in the proposed exemption areas that regulation of these services is no longer necessary.

"Under the Trade Practices Act 1974, the ACCC must decide within six months whether granting Telstra the exemptions from its standard access obligations in the proposed exchange areas would be in the long-term interests of end users," he said.

As part of assessing the exemption applications, the ACCC is inviting interested parties to respond to issues raised in the discussion papers. The ACCC is seeking comment on issues relevant to the consideration of the exemption applications, including market definition, current and potential state of competition in upstream and downstream markets, and the effect of the exemptions on incentives for efficient investment.

The ACCC will consider submissions in response to the two discussion papers which must be lodged with the ACCC by Friday, 14 December. The discussion papers will be available on the ACCC website at www.accc.com.au.
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