The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has declared that it would not regulate further internet interconnection arrangements at this time.
The ACCC's decision not to regulate means internet interconnection or 'peering' will continue to be restricted to the 'gang of four' telcos Optus, Telstra, MCI Worldcom/Ozemail and AAPT/Connect.com.au.
Under the arrangement, these telcos can send and receive traffic between their networks for free while other ISPs pay for interconnection services.
The declaration comes as the result of an inquiry the competition watchdog began last February, into whether further internet interconnection was necessary. Small ISPs and aspiring peers had requested the inquiry, claiming the current situation was unfair.
In the past, ISP Request Broadband and peering provider PIPE Networks have argued that increased network access for all ISPs would stimulate competition and bring prices down.
Michael Malone, chief executive at ISP iiNet, said the situation isn't fair and "all very bad" but was a "minor issue in the scheme of things.'"
He added that the ISP would rather the ACCC give more weight to other issues such as the cost of broadband, wholesale pricing and Telstra's activity in the market. "It's not hard to be outraged but it's a bunch of kids playing with marbles," he said.
However, the ACCC said that, while there were 'sufficient concerns' to warrant the implementation of a 'rigorous but carefully targeted monitoring program', a case had not been made for regulation.
The details of a monitoring regime are being developed, taking into account industry concerns about such a program and will be finalised early this year, the ACCC said.