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Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Consultations open on draft network licence conditions

15 October 2014

The Government has today asked for industry and public submissions on a draft carrier licence condition for networks that supply superfast carriage services to residential customers

Following the announcement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 11 September 2014 on TPG's plan to roll out a fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) network, the Government announced it would consult on a draft licence condition.

The draft licence condition would require owners of high-speed networks servicing residential customers to functionally separate their wholesale and retail operations, and to provide access to competing service providers on the same non-discriminatory terms as those provided to their own retail operations.

The carrier's wholesale company would also need to supply a Layer 2 Wholesale Service to other carriers and service providers, with the price of that service set at $27 per month.

The Government's aim is to ensure that carriers provide wholesale access to FTTB network infrastructure and remove the ability to favour their own downstream retail operations over other retailers on the network.

Without such arrangements competition and consumers can suffer. These are equivalent issues to those addressed by the structural separation of Telstra and NBN Co's wholesale-only operation.

The Government is conscious that the ACCC has announced a declaration  inquiry under Part XIC of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which is relevant to the issue of access. However, such inquiries take time and cannot provide for functional separation.

The licence condition would remain in place for two years, allowing long-term regulatory arrangements for the sector to be settled.

Carriers and other interested parties are invited to provide submissions on the draft carrier licence condition, and can access the draft carrier licence conditions and regulatory impact statement here.

Submissions should be sent to infrastructureandaccess@communications.gov.au by 15 November 2014.

Media contacts:

David Bold, Office of Malcolm Turnbull MP, 0427 784 451

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