More regulations for Telstra

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More regulations for Telstra

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) now is requiring Telstra to keep detailed records and submit reports about its telephone exchange activities.

The move comes after several other telcos from around the country lodged complaints with the ACCC about Telstra’s attempts to cap the amount of hardware to be installed by competitors due to claims of inadequate space.

There have also been several complaints about the fact that long delays in accessing the exchange are preventing Telstra competitors from providing their own customers with ADSL2+ services.

The ACCC hopes that by forcing Telstra to record and report their exchange practices, they will be able to limit some of the problems between Telstra and its competitors.

"The ACCC believes that there is a strong need for independent oversight of Telstra's processes to cap exchanges to ensure that Telstra is held accountable and access seekers are not unreasonably denied access to Telstra exchanges," ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel, said in a statement.

"There is also a clear need to identify the exact cause of delays with Telstra's queuing system."

The new regulations call for Telstra to keep records and submit monthly reports about its capping decisions and how much space it is reserving for itself for future projects.

Telstra also has to update the ACCC on the progress of any other telco who are queued up for access.

"The record-keeping rule will assist the ACCC in carrying out its statutory functions under the access regime in the Trade Practices Act and provide confidence to access seekers investing in competitive DSLAM infrastructure about the accuracy of Telstra's processes," said Samuel.

Telstra, however, stresses that the delays are not deliberate and attributes them to unprecedented demand, rather than alleged anti-competitive tactics.

"This is yet another time-consuming, expensive process that does nothing to help consumers," said Telstra spokesperson Jeremy Mitchell.

"The ACCC is over-reaching its powers again where no problems exist. After listening to customer concerns, we have already reviewed the exchange access process and made changes to ensure access seekers have more information about capped exchanges."

Mitchell claimed that the country should be focusing on the future of the National Broadband Network, rather than ‘mucking around’ with old DSL technology.

Unsurprisingly, Optus supports the ACCC’s regulations and sees them as substantial evidence against Telstra's claims from a panel of experts that more regulations would not benefit the future of the NBN.

"Here is tangible proof that the International Experts Telstra rolled out to support its cause for less regulation of the National Broadband Network were very mistaken in their belief that there is no non-price discrimination in Australia," said an Optus spokesperson.

"Alas, this latest shot across Telstra’s bow shows that Telstra’s discriminatory behaviour continues to blight the industry."
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