ACCC wants to keep Telstra's lines open for 5 years

NBN development forces more service certainty: ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced its intention to extend a key declaration that allows Telstra’s competitors to use its copper network for a further five years.

The original declaration is set to expire on July 31 and requires Telstra (ASX: TLS) to comply with standard access obligations (SAOs) when other telco providers seek access to its copper network or certain telecommunications services.

This means non-Telstra service providers can seek access to Telstra exchanges and use their own equipment when providing services like telephony and high-speed internet to customers.

In a statement, the ACCC cited the National Broadband Network (NBN) and its potential effect on future telco regulations as a major reason for extending the declaration.

“A lack of certainty regarding ongoing access in a period of transition could have a significant negative impact on competition and investment,” the ACCC statement said.

Telstra could not provide a response by time of publication.

Submissions for and against the extension must be lodged with the ACCC by June 25, 2009 and a decision will be made by July 31.