The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has concluded its inquiry into the setting of terms and conditions for wholesale ADSL services, on the back of which it has published a Final Access Determination (FAD). With the determination setting out the price and non-price terms for the service in question until 30 June 2014, the watchdog has noted that wholesale prices will fall by around 15% ‘compared to the commercial prices that were being charged, on average, prior to the regulation of the service in February 2012’. As per the decision, the ACCC has limited the application of the FAD to fixed line incumbent Telstra, although it applies to all geographic regions of the country.
As per the FAD, the final prices are in fact lower than draft prices published by the ACCC earlier this year, with the watchdog noting that the reduced charges were ‘due to updated information received in the inquiry about use of the service’. The key price terms for the monthly per-user access charge and the monthly charge for data aggregation (which relates to data usage) have been set as: AUD24.44 (USD23.42) per month per end-user in Zone 1 (predominantly CBD and metropolitan areas); AUD29.66 per month per end-user in Zone 2/3 (predominantly regional and rural areas); and a monthly charge per Aggregating Virtual Circuit or Virtual LAN acquired in connection with wholesale ADSL of AUD32.31 per Mbps.
Commenting on the final pricing decision, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: ‘The wholesale price set in the Final Access Determination provides certainty to industry participants, which in turn benefits customers by promoting competition and allowing a range of broadband services to be offered over Telstra’s copper network.’