Telstra facing AUD300 million fine for blocking exchange access

19 Apr 2010

Court proceedings against Australia’s fixed line incumbent Telstra commence today after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) initiated legal action following claims that the telco had deliberately delayed the rollout of rivals’ ADSL networks, iTWire reports. The Federal Court in Melbourne will hear the case, which alleges that Telstra falsely claimed that there was no room in local exchanges for other operators’ equipment, with existing legislation allowing for fines of up to AUD10 million (USD9.23 million) for every violation of the rules; the case reportedly contains allegations of 30 separate occasions on which access was blocked.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, legal action against Telstra was launched in March 2009. Telstra initially refuted the claims, saying it had voluntarily instituted a review of the access issues more than a year earlier, and had fixed them, but in August 2009 the telco took the unexpected step of admitting that it was guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct in denying competitors access to its copper network in a filing to the Federal Court on 31 July.