ACCC on guard against net content shaping

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ACCC on guard against net content shaping

Competition notices, penalties available as remedies.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has given its strongest indication yet that it will examine closely any efforts by telcos, including Telstra, to favour certain types of content over other types traversing the network.

The move comes as Telstra embarks on a trial of deep packet inspection, which was first raised in May 2011, and further reiterated in a blog post by the carrier’s director of consumer wireline, John Chambers.

According to the ACCC, there are specific rules guarding against anti-competitive behaviour, including in the content supply chain.

“The ACCC may issue a competition notice to an operator who engages in anti-competitive conduct if it has a substantial degree of market power in the telecommunications market and takes advantage of that power in a way that is likely to substantially lessen competition,” an ACCC spokesperson told iTnews. 

ACCC scrutiny of potential content favouritism on ISP networks was first reported by the Australian Financial Review.

Telstra's Chambers said that, aside from deep packet inspection, the carrier is also looking at tiered pricing for speed and quality of service, though it was unclear whether such offers would favour some content types over others.

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