Telstra sued over access to copper; will breakup be next?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Telstra for allegedly blocking access to its copper wire network.  It's a step that observers think will be the justification the government needs to break up the company.

In the suit, Telstra stands accused of ignoring the Trade Practices Act by refusing competitors such as Optus, Primus and TPG access to copper at seven key telephone exchanges. ACCC says Telstra claimed there was no room for competitor's equipment, but the regulator argues that capacity was available or could have been made available. Under its standard access obligations, Telstra is legally required to provide access to its telephone exchanges for competitors.

Telstra's competitors have complained for years that the company has stalled on allowing them access to its copper wire, slowing network build outs and competition.

Analysts Down Under think that the legal action is part of a broader move to more strictly separate Telstra's wholesale and retail sector operations. Telstra is also not in a happy place because it was booted out of a multi-billion dollar national broadband network build out in December and is in the process of trying to finding a replacement for departing CEO Sol Trujillo.

For more:
- The Age reports.

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