Internode asks ACCC for access to Telstra ADSL2+

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Internode asks ACCC for access to Telstra ADSL2+

Internode and nine other ISPs have rallied together to urge the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to intervene and restrain Telstra from denying wholesale access to its ADSL2+ broadband infrastructure.

Telstra recently announced it would activate high-speed ADSL2+ broadband at more than 900 telephone exchanges for the purpose of retail sale. However, it is believed by Internode that Telstra would not be obliged to offer the ADSL2+ expansions as wholesale services to other ISPs.

The protesting ISPs, which include iinet, Internode, TCN Communications and Westnet, issued a nine-page letter to ACCC chairman Graham Samuel, requesting the ACCC to issue an urgent Competition Notice under Part XIB of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Additionally, it urges the commission to re-examine declaring regulatory access to all DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) broadband services, especially in areas where competition through alternative broadband platforms is unviable.

The nine-page letter also outlines alleged impediments to competition that arise from Telstra’s control of the copper telephone line network including; untenably high wholesale transmission pricing; capped exchanges; and Telstra’s serial delays for approval to access exchanges to install DSLAMs.

“This is a serious problem, both for the broadband sector and for Australian consumers and businesses,” said Internode managing director Simon Hackett.

“Telstra clearly has a substantial amount of power in the market for wholesale broadband services. We believe that Telstra’s decision not to offer wholesale access to ADSL2+ services will lead to a substantial lessening of competition.

He said that Telstra’s marketing of ADSL2+ broadband as superior to ADSL1 technology would serve to lure customers from other ISPs who did not have access to the high-speed infrastructure.

“This substantial lessening of competition will clearly have an adverse impact on consumers, both in terms of price and the range of services available to them in the long term,” he said. “For this reason, 10 erstwhile competitors have put their differences aside to urge the ACCC to start an investigation about issuing a Competition Notice.”

If the ACCC has reason to believe that a telecommunications carrier or carriage service provider has engaged in anti-competitive conduct, it may issue a Competition Notice under section 151AKA of the Trade Practices Act.

This threatens penalties of as much as $10 million for each offence and a further $1 million for each day that a company is found to breach the anti-competition rules.

iTnews requested comment from Telstra but the telco is yet to respond.
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