The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will continue to regulate Telstra’s copper network until at least 30 June 2024.
The ACCC decision, announced today, covers six regulated services: The unconditioned local loop service (ULLS) and line sharing service (LSS), which can be used to supply broadband services, wholesale line rental (WLR), local carriage service (LCS) and fixed originating and terminating access services (FOAS and FTAS).
The six services involve wholesale network access, resale and voice interconnection services. The current ACCC declaration covering the services, handed down in 2014, is due to expire on 31 July 2019.
In February last year the ACCC announced it would continue regulating Telstra’s wholesale ADSL service for another half decade.
The more recent ACCC inquiry received submissions from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Commpete, Finder, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, Telstra, Vocus and NBN Co, with all organisations supporting continuing regulation of the half-dozen services affected by today’s announcement.
“While many end-users have already migrated to NBN based services (which are in most cases substitutes for the legacy copper network’s services within the NBN fixed line footprint), a large number of end-users still receive services over Telstra’s legacy copper network,” the ACCC decision states.
Those end users include households in areas covered by NBN Co’s fixed wireless and satellite services and those in areas that will be served by NBN fixed lined technologies but where the copper network is yet to be shut off.
“The NBN rollout is progressing but the fixed line network remains relevant to millions of consumers, before they migrate to the NBN, and in NBN fixed wireless and satellite areas where legacy network services will remain available,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“Continuing regulation during the NBN build and migration period will ensure service providers that use Telstra’s copper network at reasonable terms and prices,” Sims said.
“This will encourage competition in the retail market and deliver greater choices for end-users in the form of better prices, service quality and service options.”
The ACCC will conduct a separate inquiry on default pricing and access terms for the six services, as well as the wholesale ADSL service.
The regulator and Telstra previously clashed in court over an ACCC decision to slash the wholesale prices of seven services — Telstra had sought to raise the prices by 7.2 per cent. The telco lost the case.