Stephen Farago, director of telecommunications at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), told iTnews that the watchdog was looking at whether the declaration should be allowed to expire, or if it should be extended or varied in any way.
The current declaration requires carriers that own the infrastructure to make available transmission services in certain areas to access seekers on request, Farago said.
The ACCC currently regulates access across regional to capital, intra-regional, metropolitan and CBD transmission services, according to a statement issued by the ACCC.
If access seekers and a carrier can't agree on the terms and conditions of access, including the price, the access seeker can approach the ACCC and request arbitration, Farago said.
Inter-capital transmission routes –- which include Sydney to Brisbane, Melbourne to Brisbane, Melbourne to Adelaide, Melbourne to Perth and Adelaide to Perth routes –- are currently not included in the declaration.
“The reason that we took those ones out that we thought there was sufficient competition emerging on those routes,” Farago said. A review of this will be included in the inquiry.
The public inquiry is required to be carried out under legislation, Farago said, with submissions to an initial discussion paper the ACCC has issued closing 26 September.
He said the watchdog would then consider those submissions coupled with its own analysis of what changes had occurred in the market since the previous report in 2001. Draft findings are expected to be released in November.