No support for ACCC notice removal

No support for ACCC notice removal

Several ISPs have declared they will not support Telstra's renewed request to remove the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) competition notice on the carrier's wholesale pricing.

The ACCC has asked for industry feedback following Telstra's decision to further reduce wholesale prices as of January 1. Its entry-level 256/64 speed lines, for example, have been reduced to $22 per port from $27.

ISPs spoken to by ARN described Telstra's price reductions as a good start that doesn't go far enough.

"The real issue is to backdate the pricing [to March 1, 2004] if they are serious," Netspace managing director, Stuart Marburg, said.

Backdating was required because of the damage caused in terms of lost customers and opportunities over the 10-month period, he said. Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, also pointed to the forced bundling of Aggregated Virtual Circuits (AGVC) with wholesale ports as an example of issues that need to be sorted out.

Exetel managing director, John Linton, also expected the important issue of backdating to be addressed.

"Rather than reduce the port price any further the most likely trade-off scenario is for Telstra to backdate the new pricing to February 2004," he said.

The Internet Industry Association chief executive, Peter Coroneos, said the ACCC must look a t the change on the whole market because new Telstra pricing had a domino effect. This created price pressures on fledgling wholesale infrastructure providers, he said.

Prolonged discounting was hampering business planning and subsequent industry investment.

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