Telstra raises ISP ire over BigPond price drops

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Telstra raises ISP ire over BigPond price drops

No equivalent fall in wholesale costs.

Telstra has been accused of repeating anti-competitive behaviour from 2004 after again failing to reduce wholesale DSL prices in line with lower BigPond prices announced last week.

A Telstra spokesman told iTnews that the telco did “not believe that Telstra’s new BigPond pricing, of itself, necessitated any corresponding lowering of wholesale pricing.

“Telstra Wholesale regularly reviews its commercial arrangements with our DSL customers to ensure that our pricing is competitive,” the spokesman said.

But Minter Ellison partner Richard Dammery told a conference in a far-ranging presentation on all things NBN and Telstra this morning that “recently announced broadband changes [at Telstra] seemed to follow a pattern similar to that of 2004/5 when Telstra announced changes to its broadband prices and didn’t adjust wholesale pricing.

“It’s a source of some surprise in the industry because we thought Telstra would have learned its lesson from the first time,” Dammery said.

Telstra was placed under investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in February 2004 to check whether price changes it made to its BigPond broadband services that month “adversely affected the competitive position of its wholesale broadband customers”.

The incumbent was forced to acknowledge that impact a year later. Telstra dropped its wholesale prices and rebated affected wholesale customers some $6.5 million, and the anti-competitive proceedings were dropped.

“The ACCC considers that efficient wholesale customers are now no longer hindered from competing with Telstra BigPond's ADSL services on the basis of Telstra's reduced wholesale DSL pricing,” the ACCC said at the time.

A spokesman from the ACCC told iTnews the commission “generally” did not comment on investigations, either potential or underway.


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