The Australian telecommunications access regime - Ten years on

Meena Chavan*, Holly Raiche

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

When open competition was introduced through the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth), Part XIB - The Telecommunications Industry: Anti-Competitive Conduct and Record-Keeping rules and Part XIC - Telecommunications Access Regime were added to the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) to underpin open competition. In moving from the former Government owned monopoly providers to open competition, new competitors to the former monopolist Telecom (now Telstra) had to be able to interconnect to Telstra's infrastructure to be able to provide competing services. The Government's aim was that, in the first instance, interconnection arrangements would be commercially negotiated. Failing successful negotiations, however, the Access Regime provided that the bottleneck facilities could be 'declared'. Once a service is 'declared', the provider of the declared service has specific obligations to provide interconnection on specified terms, with the possibility that the ACCC can arbitrate disputes on access to 'declared' services. Ten years later, the effectiveness of the Access Regime is being questioned, by the competition regulator, by Telstra and by Telstra's competitors. The purpose of this paper is to review the effectiveness of the Access Regime and consider whether it can be further amended to improve its effectiveness (there have been significant amendments to the Access Regime in 1999, 2002 and 2005) or whether other measures to ensure a competitive environment in telecommunications should be considered. The research for this paper has been an examination of written material, including significant reports on competition in telecommunications by the Productivity Commission and by ACCC reports on competition in the industry. It has also examined the many ACCC inquiries into Access Regime issues, submissions to those inquiries and public statements made by industry participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages20.1-20.16
Number of pages16
Volume58
No.2-3
Specialist publicationTelecommunications Journal of Australia
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

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