Telstra faces rap for hindering internet competition

19 Mar 2004

Australian incumbent is in trouble again for obstructing competition in the country’s high speed internet access market by allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices, and could now face fines of over AUD10 million (USD7.5 million) from the industry competition watchdog. Telstra dropped the minimum price for broadband access to residential users to AUD29.95 on 16 February, and ten days later cut the wholesale price for rivals using its network to access home users to just below the new retail price, causing an instant outcry from the likes of SingTel’s local unit Optus. The former monopoly has reacted angrily to the regulator’s intervention saying it was ‘unnecessary and could hinder the swift resolution of outstanding commercial negotiations’, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is adamant it will, if necessary, pursue the former monopoly through the courts.