Telstra kicks comptroller out of court in wholesale dispute

2 Jul 2014

Australian incumbent Telstra has won a Federal Court ruling which bans the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) from intervening in an ongoing wholesale fixed network access pricing dispute. As reported by ITNews, Telstra took the ACCC and three of its wholesale customers – Vocus Fibre, Adam Internet and Chime Communications – to court earlier this year to argue that the competition watchdog did not have the authority to arbitrate in the conflict, which arose after Telstra raised wholesale fees for access to its exchanges and underground ducts by 3% in 2012. The latest decision reverses a lower court ruling which went against Telstra in March this year, prompting Telstra to appeal to the Federal Court. A Telstra spokesperson said: ‘Today’s ruling confirms we have a binding contract in place with the three wholesale customers and there is no basis for arbitration,’ after the federal judge found the ACCC had no power to hear or determine in the dispute, while ordering the three ISPs to pay Telstra’s costs. The ACCC confirmed that in light of the latest judgment it would cease arbitration of the dispute.