Telstra slapped with AUD19 million fine for blocking exchange access

28 Jul 2010

Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has been fined AUD18.5 million (USD16.7 million) for illegally blocking access to its local exchanges, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. With the matter having been taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Federal Court ruled that the telco had breached the Trade Practices Act and its carrier licence conditions by locking broadband competitors out of seven exchanges across the country on 27 occasions between July 2006 and April 2008. The ACCC had sought penalties totalling AUD40 million but in his ruling Justice John Middleton rejected the larger penalty, giving Telstra a 30% discount on each breach for ‘cooperation, acceptance of responsibility and for voluntarily implementing a compliance programme’. Telstra has said that it will not appeal the decision.