ACCC to extend access to Telstra copper network

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ACCC to extend access to Telstra copper network

The ACCC intends to extend arrangements governing competitor access to Telstra’s copper network for another five years to ensure investment in existing broadband services until the completion of the NBN.

The Commission echoed concerns of the industry that investments in existing broadband technologies, such as DSLAMs, could stall because ISPs are worried the assets will become ‘stranded' by the NBN, without them realising adequate return-on-investment.

"A lack of certainty regarding ongoing access in a period of transition could have a significant negative impact on competition and investment by both access providers and access seekers, to the detriment of end users," the ACCC said.

ACCC Commissioner Ed Willett told iTnews the decision "recognises that we are going into a fairly difficult transition period between now and the NBN."

"We want to provide as much certainty as possible - recognising that a lot of what is done now will be overtaken by the NBN," he said.

The decision to extend access arrangements is still in a draft phase.

The ACCC will conduct additional consultation up until June 25 before handing down its final decision before the end of July.

The regulator said the extension decision could be reviewed earlier than its five-year expiry if the NBN is introduced faster than expected.

"The ACCC is satisfied that sufficient statutory mechanisms exist to review the regulation of fixed-line services if required at any time, given a change in market conditions or other developments, such as the NBN services becoming available," the ACCC said.

The ACCC has ‘declared' six fixed-line services delivered over Telstra's copper network under Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act.

Once a service is declared, carriers and carriage service providers (CSPs) are required to comply with standard access obligations (SAOs) in relation to any such service that they supply.

The six fixed-line services are the unconditioned local loop service (ULLS), line sharing service (LSS), local carriage service (LCS), wholesale line rental (WLR), public switched telephone network (PSTN) originating access (OA) and terminating access (TA).

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