The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an enquiry to determine the need to keep regulating wholesale access to Telstra's copper network.
The watchdog is consulting with industry participants, other stakeholders and the public regarding the future of the declarations of six fixed-line services on Telstra’s copper network as consumers move to the National Broadband Network.
Declarations allow access seekers to acquire the services under certain terms and conditions.
In the consultation and position paper, the ACCC explained that the full migration of customers in the NBN fixed line footprint expected to occur in 2021.
"As the NBN rollout progresses, the relevance of Telstra’s bottleneck copper network declines," the position paper stated. "Within the fixed line rollout, end-users must migrate to the NBN or another high-speed network as the legacy copper services are switched off.
"However, in the short term, the network still remains relevant to millions of end-users, either prior to migration or in NBN fixed wireless and satellite areas where legacy services remain available."
There are currently six declared services in operation – set to expire on 31 July 2019 – being the unconditioned local loop service (ULLS), line sharing service (LSS), wholesale line rental (WLR), local carriage service (LCS) and fixed originating and terminating access services (FOAS and FTAS).
“The copper network remains relevant to a large number of people during the transition period to the National Broadband Network," ACCC chair Rod Sims said. "The ACCC will consider whether continued declaration is warranted in the long-term interests of consumers.
“Given the number of services in operation on Telstra’s copper network are rapidly declining as more consumers and businesses transition to NBN services, the ACCC is seeking to take a streamlined approach to the declaration inquiry.”
The consultation and position paper seeks views on the ACCC’s position to extend the six existing declarations of the fixed line services for five years until 30 June 2024.
The extension would retain the same terms as the existing declarations.
After considering submissions, the ACCC will consider whether any further consultation is appropriate or whether to proceed to a final declaration decision.
Submissions and responses will be accepted until 12 October.