The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has pulled together an annual report on Telstra’s compliance with its Structural Separation Undertaking (SSU), which has been tabled in Parliament.
The report, which outlines Telstra’s compliance with its SSU obligations during the 2014-15 financial year, also highlights that the SSU commits Telstra to take the relevant steps in connection with the structural reform of the communications industry.
These include specific measures that apply until the nbn has been completed and services have been migrated from Telstra’s fixed line access networks. Given the timeframe required to complete the nbn build, the ACCC said the SSU commitments are fundamental to promoting competitive outcomes during the transition period.
The report also shows Telstra’s continued commitment to improving its level of compliance with its SSU in the 2014-15 reporting period. It identified a reduction in the number of breaches reported by Telstra during the year as a result of it.
As such, the ACCC considers that Telstra’s overall level of compliance has improved during the year and that the company has acted reasonably to redress breaches as they arise.
Compliance issues include protecting confidential or commercially sensitive wholesale customer information that it receives in the course of supplying regulated services from being disclosed to its retail business units and maintaining operational and organisational separation of its wholesale, retail and network services businesses.
It also involves its compliance with some reporting requirements that are designed to promote transparency; and blocking service orders or other requests from being processed, as required to promote migration to the nbn and realise structural reform.
ACCC chair, Rod Sims, said the compliance issues largely arise due to Telstra’s legacy systems not being designed to deliver the outcomes required by the SSU, or errors made by Telstra staff in performing their day-to-day work.
“Telstra has made progress towards addressing key issues during the year, particularly in relation to its IT systems and processes to better safeguard against disclosure of protected wholesale customer information,” he said.
The ACCC’s response to the SSU breaches has been to work with Telstra to focus on stopping the conduct, reducing its effect, and ensuring steps are taken to prevent recurrence. The ACCC has also encouraged Telstra to be transparent and keep its wholesale customers informed of SSU equivalence and migration issues as they arise.