Australian competitive providers say Telstra's revised separation plan is inadequate

Australia's main telecom regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is being lobbied by the country's key competitive carriers to not accept Telstra's (ASX: TLS.AX) revised Structural Separation Undertaking (SSU) plan.

Despite its effort to make the SSU more palatable to competitive providers, including the introduction of an overarching equivalence obligation (OEO) to ensure its wholesale division will treat customers fairly, AAPT said in its response to the ACCC that the new plan is "fundamentally flawed."

"The revised SSU still suffers from fundamental flaws, which, unless adequately addressed by Telstra, means that the ACCC cannot be satisfied that the revised SSU provides for transparency and equivalence between Telstra's wholesale customers and Telstra's retail business unit in an appropriate and effective manner ...," AAPT said in its response. "The ACCC must therefore reject the revised SSU."

Herbert Greer, the law firm representing Adam Internet, iiNet, Internode and TrasACT, could not understand why the ACCC thought the revised plan was acceptable.  

 "The SSU excludes all aspects of functional separation, which contradicts Telstra's requirement to give a commitment to the equivalence obligation," Herbert Geer said in its ACCC submission.

In response to concerns that the initial plan did not have enough safeguards to ensure that competitors would get equal access to its copper and fiber networks, Telstra gave the ACCC a revised version of its SSU in November. This revised plan included an 'overarching commitment' to give rivals equivalent access to its monopoly wireline network during the ten-year transition to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The ACCC is set to make final decision on the revised SSU plan by February.

For more:
- ARN has this article

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