First Telstra judge given nod

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First Telstra judge given nod

Two-year term.

The competition watchdog has approved the appointment of a former staffer Rob Nicholls as the first Independent Telecommunications Adjudicator.

Nicholls, a general manager of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's communications arm between 2010 and 2011, will take up the position of ITA for two years after being nominated earlier this month.

The ACCC said it approved Nicholls' appointment after "targeted consultation with industry".

The position was established as a provision of Telstra's structural separation to oversee dispute resolution between the telco and its wholesale customers over price and service level equivalence to BigPond.

ITA chairman – and Telstra deputy chief financial officer – Mark Hall said in a letter to the watchdog earlier this month that Nicholls would "provide the industry with confidence" that the adjudicator would act independently from Telstra.

The part-time position will see Nicholls continue in his consultancy role at law firm Webb Henderson but remove himself from any issues involving Australian telecommunications to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The adjudicator has remained a sticking point among Telstra's competitors, leading the Federal Government to legislatively mandate the adjudicator's independence from Telstra.

The ACCC approved a constitution for the adjudicator last month, allowing the new body to seek and nominate someone for the role.

Nicholls told iTnews prior to his appointment that he would be "very pleased" to take up the post.

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