ACCC under fire for draft NBN regulation

07 Oct 2008

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [ACCC] has been attacked over a key draft regulatory decision for the country's upcoming National Broadband Network [NBN].

In a move designed to force local ISPs to invest more heavily in DSLAMs and MSANs, the ACCC has proposed exempting Telstra from its obligations to provide PSTN originating access in hotly-competed areas.

But Australian ISPs have criticised this decision, stating that non-Telstra DSLAMs will be rendered useless by as early as 2010 as the NBN becomes interconnected through thousands of distributed nodes.

While the proposed regulatory decision would only exempt Telstra from providing PSTN OA in areas where there are four or more competing ULLS-based competitors, ISPs have charged that his does not take into account whether any of those competitors can supply a standard phone service.

This is only exacerbated by the fact that under the draft decision Telstra may discontinue LSS or ULLS support in any region it has rolled out fibre to within just 15 weeks' notice.

ISPs are also concerned they would have to begin the expensive process of replacing their DSLAMs with MSANs should this decision be made law.

Telstra is Australia's former national carrier. While it has since been privatized, it still owns a large proportion of the country's phone and internet infrastructure.

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