Telcos complain to ACCC about Telstra's ULL service - again

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Telcos complain to ACCC about Telstra's ULL service - again

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recently received notification of two further telecommunications access disputes relating to Telstra's ULL service.

Macquarie Telecom Pty Ltd and Optus Networks Pty Ltd have each notified an access dispute under Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act 1974. The disputes concern supply of the Unconditioned Local Loop (ULL) Service by Telstra Corporation Limited.

With these notifications, the ACCC is now arbitrating a total of 35 access disputes. A further 18 final determinations made in concluded arbitrations are now under judicial review.

As detailed on the ACCC's public register of telecommunications determinations, interim determinations have recently been made in nine ULLS arbitrations. This follows the publication of indicative prices for the ULLS on 4 June 2008.

The access dispute notified by Macquarie relates to monthly rental and connection charges for the supply of the ULLS, while the dispute notified by Optus relates to the terms and conditions on which Telstra supplies interconnection to enable Optus to acquire the ULLS at exchanges that Telstra classifies as 'racks capped', 'rack and MDF capped' and 'potential'.

The ACCC has commenced the arbitration process for these access disputes. Given that the legislation contemplates that arbitrations be conducted in private, the ACCC will not be making any public comment at this stage concerning these particular arbitrations.

The ULLS involves the use of unconditioned cable, primarily copper pairs, between end users and a telephone exchange and essentially gives an access seeker the use of the copper pair without any dial tone or carriage service.

This allows the access seeker to use the ULLS in conjunction with its own equipment in an exchange to provide a range of services, including traditional voice services and high speed internet access, to end-users connected to that exchange.

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