ACCC calls opens discussion on proposed variation to fixed line access determinations

5 Apr 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced the launch of a public inquiry regarding the variation of fixed line final access determinations (FADs) after fixed line incumbent Telstra called for relief until March 2013 from providing a number of declared services in ‘greenfield’ locations where the National Broadband Network (NBN) has been deployed. The services in question are wholesale line rental (WLR), local carriage service (LCS) and a subset of the public switched telephone network originating access service (PSTN OA) called preselect and override services; Telstra is currently required to provide access for competitors to these declared services.

A temporary technical inability to provide access to a wholesale voice service over the NBN in new-build estates until September 2012 is understood to have prompted Telstra’s request. At that date the telco has indicated it will make its mass-market wholesale and retail NBN services available, but it is pressing for the twelve-month regulatory relaxation to allow for any unforeseen difficulties.

The ACCC has said that its preliminary view is to allow the FAD variation, and to remove service supply obligations for WLR, LCS and PSTN OA preselect and override services over the NBN at greenfield locations until 31 March 2013. Commenting on the matter, ACCC chairman Rod Sims noted: ‘The ACCC notes the apparent limited impact of this proposed variation in NBN greenfield estates in terms of both the affected number of end-users and its timeframe … The ACCC’s provisional view is to favourably consider Telstra’s request.’

Comments on the proposals must be submitted by 11 May 2012, and the regulator has said it aims to finalise the inquiry within the next three months.