WA broadband providers ask for a Fair Go

WA broadband providers ask for a Fair Go

The Western Australian Internet Association (WAIA) industry body has launched a crusade against Telstra’s latest retail broadband price cuts in an attempt to force the telco to drop its “predatory” wholesale pricing.

Following an emergency meeting of some 30 WAIA members last week, the body has established a new “Fair Go” campaign to pressure the telco into delivering fairer wholesale pricing.

In a press statement, the WAIA condemned Telstra’s new $29.95 ADSL account, claiming the price point was bad for competition and therefore bad for consumers.

WAIA president Kimberly Heitman said WA’s ISPs are unable to compete “when Telstra is selling broadband services to the public at less than wholesale price”.

Heitman said WA would suffer more than its eastern seaboard counterparts because most of regional WA lies within Telstra’s Zone 2 area. This sees regional ISPs paying an additional $13 per month per customer to access Telstra’s wholesale network, Heitman said.

The Fair Go campaign will involve formal complaints by the WAIA to both the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), as well as lobbying to the Federal Parliament. Complaints will focus on Telstra’s wholesale pricing structure as well as on the effect the monthly 200MB download cap will have upon the consumer.

The group will also establish and administer a legal fighting fund to support the campaign.

WAIA Media spokesperson Charlie Stephens said the WAIA is currently determining the amount of funding which will go into the fighting fund. From there, the body will engage a legal firm to take its complaints through the formal channels.

Although the focus of the group is on the new $29.95 Telstra broadband products, Heitman said the industry is also concerned about other Telstra price points, such as its 1.5MB ADSL plan with 10GB of downloads for $59.95 a month.

These are “equally undercutting ISPs since the wholesale costs are such that other ISPs cannot offer this account,” Heitman said.

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