Optus submits proposals for structural separation of Telstra

21 May 2009

Australian news source ITnews is reporting that Optus has made a submission to the government’s review of telecoms regulations calling for incumbent Telstra to be structurally separated by 2010. It is understood that Optus’ proposal contains four key elements; that Telstra be split into an access providing wholesale company and a separate retail entity; that the access company be forced to charge the same fees for all operators, including the created Telstra retail offshoot; that access pricing be aligned to Telstra’s costs; and that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) be given greater power to regulate the telecoms markets. Andrew Sheridan, general manager of regulatory affairs at Optus, said that structural separation needs to be discussed in a bid to halt Telstra’s ‘incentive and opportunity’ to discriminate against other operators. Commenting on the proposals Mr Sheridan said: ‘Functional separation would certainly be a vast improvement on the arrangements we have today, but I feel they still don’t quite address the problem of the incumbent’s incentives to cheat.’ Submissions to the government’s regulatory review are due by 3 June.