Telco industry group attacks Telstra fibre network exemptions

Telco industry group attacks Telstra fibre network exemptions

The decision by the Government to exempt some of Telstra's fibre networks from NBN laws does not sit well with the the Competitive Carriers' Coalition.

The Competitive Carriers' Coalition (CCC) has come out swinging against the National Broadband Network (NBN) law exemptions granted to select Telstra fibre networks by the Government.

The telco industry group represents a number of carriers including iiNet, Primus and Vodafone.

Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, approved Telstra’s application for some of its fibre networks, including one currently being rollout out at the South Brisbane telephone exchange, to be exempt from the National Broadband Network (NBN) “level playing-field arrangements”.

The exemptions came with certain conditions including the requirement Telstra offers equitable wholesale services to its competitors. This will be enforceable by the ACCC.

These conditions, according to the CCC, are not enough since the exemptions mean those excluded fibre networks will not have to operate in the same way as the wholesale-only NBN.

Under the “level playing-field” legislation passed in parliament last year, superfast broadband networks have to be wholesale-only and be regulated by the ACCC.

“The so-called open access arrangements approved by Minister Conroy yesterday is vastly inferior and more limited than that offered by NBN Co, and is less competitive to the service Telstra is required to offer over its copper network,” a CCC spokesperson said in a statement.

The industry group has raised a number of issues, one of which is the wholesale services Telstra is offering over the exempt networks are “inferior to services that could be offered through the ULLS (the copper network)”.

“… Telstra has to provide only three wholesale options that limit competitors’ ability to provide different and innovative retail products,” the CCC said in the statement.

Telstra’s wholesale offerings in the exempt fibre areas also do not include symmetrical downloading and uploading services.

By granting the exemptions, it gives Telstra a free ride to abuse its dominant market position once again, according to the CCC.

The exemptions can be revoked by Senator Conroy and is only applicable during the rollout period of the NBN.

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