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iiNet disgruntled over BigPond price cuts

iiNet disgruntled over BigPond price cuts

Mirroring the actions of Internode, the Perth-based ISP has launched a formal complaint against Telstra with the ACCC

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Perth-based ISP, iiNet, has filed a formal complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) after Telstra’s drastic price cuts on its BigPond ADSL2+ services.

The telco giant dropped the prices on three Elite plans and one Turbo plan. The 200GB Elite plan is now $89.95, down from $179.95.

With Telstra being its wholesaler and largest competitor, iiNet has branded the move “anti-competitive”.

“[Telstra] has an incentive to get in our way, to prevent us from competing with its retail business and that is the behaviour we are seeing,” iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said. “We are seeing wholesale prices held artificially high and retail prices below the wholesale prices.”

“[Telstra] oblige us to buy some mandatory backhaul charges to the port prices. So we believe it’s anti-competitive and we believe it’s in breech of the Trade Practices Act so we have complained to the ACCC to ask them to take some action.”

The complaint mirrors that of South Australia-based ISP, Internode, which also submitted a letter of complaint to the ACCC. The ACCC has refused to comment on the matter.

“We’d be quite happy to have a joint action with Internode - and it may end up that way - but we’re independently complaining,” he said.

Based on past experience, Dalby has low expectations that the ACCC will intervene but he was still keen for the competition watchdog to take some action.

“I think that is what encourages Telstra to continue this anti-competitive behaviour,” he said.

Dalby is looking forward to Telstra’s separation of its retail and wholesale arms. But with an election around the corner, the telecommunications reforms bill forcing Telstra structural separation bill which was introduced to Parliament last year is now up in the air.

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