ACCC launches consultation on regulated access to wholesale services

27 May 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a consultation paper seeking views on non-price terms of access for those regulated fixed line services supplied using fixed line incumbent Telstra’s copper network. With the regulator also seeking feedback on plans for regulated transmission and mobile termination services, it said it had decided to consult separately on setting non-price terms for these regulated services ‘given the number of complex pricing issues covered by the ACCC’s current telecommunications access inquiries’. Separate discussion papers on primary price issues, including the monthly or annual access charges and usage charges, and on setting non-price terms and other charges incurred in using the regulated services, such as connection charges, are to be released ‘shortly’.

For now, the ACCC is seeking further information on issues regarding access to infrastructure facilities which were raised in its declaration inquiries for the fixed line services and domestic transmission capacity service (DTCS). Submissions are due by 15 July 2014.

The consultation forms part of the ACCC’s path to making final access determinations (FADs) which will set a range of regulated terms for the seven regulated fixed line services, the DTCS and mobile terminating access service (MTAS). These three inquiries will determine regulated prices and other access terms that will apply when access providers and access seekers cannot reach agreement through commercial negotiations. Commenting on the matter, ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes noted: ‘The regulated services are used by telecommunications companies to provide retail voice and broadband services to many Australians … In addition to paying reasonable access prices, it is important that access seekers can get efficient and timely access to the regulated services, as this will promote competition and benefit consumers.’