The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided to maintain until 30 June 2024 the current regulated wholesale prices for key services delivered using Telstra’s copper network.
As a result, the prices of seven services, including Telstra’s wholesale ADSL service, will decline in real terms.
“Our decision will provide real price reductions and certainty for the industry in relation to voice and broadband services which are still being provided through Telstra’s copper network and other legacy infrastructure,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
The competition regulator expects that it is last time it will need to step in to regulate the services — which include 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) — thanks to the rollout of the NBN.
Telstra’s copper network is being progressively switched off in areas served by NBN Co’s fixed line footprint.
The switch-off takes place 18 months after an area is declared ready for service. NBN Co expects to complete its rollout by June 2020, although it has acknowledged it will still need to hook up about 100,000 premises that are considered “complex connections”.
Sims said that although the NBN rollout is almost completed, retail service providers (RSPs) will still rely on the copper network “to provide services to some consumers for a few more years.”
“The ACCC’s view is that stability in prices (and price relativities) for the declared fixed line services will maintain the economically efficient use of and economically efficient investment in the assets that are used to provide the fixed line services and provide a stable environment for access seekers as customers migrate to the NBN,” states the ACCC’s decision.