ACT re-examining Telstra wholesale exemptions

24 Apr 2009

ZDNET is reporting that the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) has been investigating the Australian Competition Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) decision to grant incumbent Telstra exemption from wholesale voice services. The exemption, originally granted in October 2008, freed Telstra from obligations to provide public switched telephone network originating access (PTSN OA) in 248 exchanges. The ACT overturned the decision however in December 2008, but Telstra appealed in the Federal Court and won; the ruling was announced last month. The ACT will now reconsider the matter, having overturned it last time on the grounds that the reasoning for the ACCC’s decision had not ‘been sound’. No date has been announced for the ACT’s latest ruling on the matter.

Separately, but in related news, despite agreement on the aforementioned wholesale issues, the ACCC and Telstra are set to come to blows over space in exchanges; a Federal Court last week has ordered the ACCC to provide more information by 8 May regarding its claims that the operator lied about not being able to make room for other operators in some exchanges. Telstra must file its defence 3 June and the case is expected to be heard on 19 June.