Telstra ordered to pay court costs for five rivals

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Telstra ordered to pay court costs for five rivals

After losing ACCC wholesale price fight.

The federal court has ordered Telstra to pay the court costs incurred by five of its rivals following a legal battle over the price it can charge other telcos for access to its copper network.

Telstra last month lost its bid to appeal a decision by the ACCC to lower the regulated price the telco charges its wholesale partners to access its fixed-line copper network by 9.4 percent.

At the time it was ordered to pay the ACCC's costs in the case.

The telco has now also been told to pay the costs incurred by the telcos that took the ACCC's side in the lawsuit: specifically Optus, Macquarie Telecom, TPG, Symbio Networks, and Telcoinabox.

Telstra had argued it should only be required to pay 70 percent of each telco's costs given there had been "unnecessary duplication" between the various respondents.

But Justice Foster today said it should have been plain to Telstra when it launched the legal action against the ACCC that affected access seekers would also seek to join the case.

"Of course, this is precisely what happened," he said.

He noted that Telstra at no point had objected to the other telcos becoming involved in the legal action.

"I am not persuaded that there was unnecessary or unreasonable duplication in the way in which the respondents conducted themselves," Foster said.

"In my view this is not an occasion for being unduly parsimonious or nit-picking towards the access seekers in respect of costs. Their participation in the proceeding was, in truth, necessary."

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