ACCC should sue Telstra: Carrier group

ACCC should sue Telstra: Carrier group

Summary: ACCC should sue Telstra, says carrier group


A group representing rival telecommunications carriers today said the competition regulator should have prosecuted Telstra rather than simply issuing a notice against its bad behaviour on wholesale line rental increases.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this morning revoked a competition notice it issued to Telstra last April, saying new regulations would ensure the telco charged fair wholesale line rental prices. The notice was issued after Telstra raised prices in December 2005, and has since provoked a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Telstra by the nation's number two telco Optus.

But the Competitive Carrier's Coalition (CCC) -- a lobby group representing telcos such as Hutchison, Macquarie Telecom, Verizon, PowerTel, Primus and iiNet today said the ACCC hadn't gone far enough.

"The ACCC has never taken Telstra to court in any of the five competition notices it has issued, despite maintaining in each case that it believed Telstra was breaking the law," the CCC said in a statement issued by executive director David Forman.

"We have reached a situation that is unsustainable," Forman added, claiming there was either a problem with the law, or the administration of the law, that made it unworkable against an organisation "with Telstra's power".

Forman pointed out it was only the ACCC that could penalise Telstra financially for anti-competitive behaviour. "The Parliament increased the penalties for anti-competitive conduct to AU$3 million a day, making clear its intention that it expects tough action and strong deterrence," he said.

The CCC director also took aim at the ACCC's suggestion that its move last year to declare -- or regulate -- Telstra's wholesale line rental service would resolve the issue highlighted by the competition notice.

"There are fundamental problems with this approach," he said. "Firstly, it shuts the gate after the horse has bolted, won the cup, and cashed the winner's cheque. Secondly, it does nothing to punish Telstra or compensate competitors for the period when a price squeeze was in place."

Forman said the ACCC's approach demonstrated by this morning's decision was "a recipe for ever-expanding regulation" as Telstra could gain advantage in one market after another while the ACCC followed behind.

"It disadvantages smaller carriers who do not have the resources to be taking continual disputes with Telstra to the ACCC to be arbitrated bilaterally," he said.

Topics: Telcos, Government, Government AU, Legal, Telstra

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  • Full disclosure

    Rod Bruem, I notice in your comment you haven't disclosed that you work for Telstra. You may want to stop astro-turfing.
  • Competition and Free Enterprise.

    The sooner these unprofitable, free loading, bloodsucking parasites who Telstra are expected to subsidise, learn to stand on their own two feet the sooner Australia will become a leader in high speed broadband. These imposters wait in the shadows to bludge public money from the Federal Government to allow them to attack Australia's Telstra and so far have managed to pull the wool over Senator Coonans eyes. Wake up Helen Coonan and tell these charletons to fund their own businesses. Please Mr Howard stop this rot.
  • Bloodsucking parasites?

    If real ISPs are "bloodsucking parasites" in your words, then I wonder what Bigpond is? They don't pay the same rates as other ISPs, (infact, they don't even go through Telstra Wholesale)?

    How is that Telstra requests the entire $600m of the Broadband Connect funds, and that is ok? But when others request some of it, they are leeching off the government?
  • Sue Telstra

    "As a result it's ****ing everyone off"
    quoting Rod Bruem

    Which would make a change from YOUR EMPLOYER Telstra doing it to everyone else.
  • So which carrier do you work for?

    Charles, you obviously work in the industry. Who is to be you work for a competitor to Telstra. Your comments are pretty one eyed.
  • Charles G

    I work in the IT industry, but not in the Internet industry - I don't work for a comms carrier, a telco, an access provider, an ISP, a VSP or anything else like that. So no, I have no vested interest in a particular ISP. I have simply been paying attention to the damage they have been doing to the industry for the last 10 years. I could go into details but it would be off topic for this specific article.
  • Charles G

    I have to agree with Charles G.

    Telstra claim to be bringing Australia Broadband, at what.. ROBBERY prices? Telstra neglect to mention that their definition of broadband is restricting technology to 1/8th of its maximum speed for 7 years.

    Telstra had no interest in ADSL2+, until they saw iiNet and Internode as very much competitors and decided to play ball as well (rather then lose out completely).

    Why is Telstra against the FTTN ?

    It'll bring fast, cheap broadband access to Australians. Something Telstra can't see happen, as it'll mean all those mum and dad users they've been ripping off all this time, move over to the FTTN and Telstra lose market share, a lot of it to.

    So what does Telstra do? Attack the government in an election year. Well, any other government that gets voted in by Australian's will do what's right by Australian's, and that certainly doesn't involve Telstra gaining monopoly status again, or getting its stranglehold on competition back.

    Sorry Telstra, you lose. Read it and weep, or get with the picture and compete WITH it. By now, I'd have accepted it, its not going to change, ISPs will get more aggressive in their roll outs, more consumers will receive faster, cheaper, BROADBAND, and not this fraudband crap, that TELSTRA made, and tries to blame the government for.

    Any uninformed consumer needs to get the real picture, and not that biased crap from Now We Are Talking (trash), to get that, take a look at the G9 plan, take a look at whirlpool, and INDEPENDANT website, with more then 100,000 users, that's a fair snapshot of the knowledgeable IT community, who know what is good quality, and fraud.

    An alarming statistic that you won't find on now we are talking trash is, near 50% of Telstra's so called subscribers are with Telstra Wholesale. That means 50% of consumers didn't take up Telstra services, and went with Optus, iiNet or other ISPs. That figure shrinks, because of customers moving to ADSL2+ ISPs, and that means, Telstra's profits will shrink further, and that, in my unbiased, fair view, is a good thing.

    The ISPs don't leech off Telstra, Telstra Wholesale set prices, ISPs pay it, or roll out their own equipment. Where the price fixing is, is when Bigpond have a price that is lower then Wholesale, meaning customers can't bundle.

    Bigpond don't pay Telstra Wholesale, meaning they get all the cash intake themselves. The tables would turn very much if they were forced to pay! .. Let's make Bigpond pay Telstra Wholesale, seems fair, if you ask me.
  • More whining from Telstra's competitors

    It seems that they are everywhere, those whining about Telstra. It appears that Telstra's competitors can do nothing else. Telstra is rightfully opposed to the G9 FTTN rollout, as it would mean that Telstra's assets would be forcibly handed over to G9, and also no one would be allowed to compete with G9 as they want a monopoly on FTTN
    As for mentioning Whirlpool (known throughout the industry as Whingepool for all the kiddies whinging there) that is a very anti Telstra site, even the Bigpond representives have been banned from moderating the Bigpond lounge and been banned from the represantives lounge for no reason!
  • Whirlpool

    Whirlpool is not whingepool, in fact it has covered a number of details that Telstra neglects to mention about its intentions.

    Simply put, I agree 100% with Helen Coonan and the government's moves with regard to Telstra. Until they can behave in the industry, and compete, without cutting competitors throats or choking them, regulation should remain.

    I'll let you in on something. A gigabit of data costs $2 - $4 depending where the location it terminates is, Telstra charge $150/GB. That's the sort of excessive pricing they want to hold Australian's to. It's robbery, and they believe they can get away with it? I won't be allowing it.

    The competitors have consumers in mind, Telstra, well, even Shareholders wouldn't be paying $150/GB for data. So, they only have their greed in mind, and that's not what an "Australian" company offers. Telstra claims its Australian, well if that's the case, I'll take Singapore anyday.

    Let me guess, you as "Anonymous" are either Sol, or one of his amigos, or one of his misinformed NWABS site readers?

    Well, even if you genuinely find Whirlpool to be more like "Whingepool", you still need to see both sides of the argument to come to any fair conclusion.
  • Free Enterprise and Capitalism.

    Oh dear Mr Geek you can't be serious. You say competition should not be about cutting competitors throats and we should all help each other. Mr Geek thats communism you endorse not capitalism, but them again perhaps you are stuck in a 1980 time warp and the Soviet Union is your bag.
  • Competition

    If it was many equally-strong companies competing, then fine, let them go for it. I have no problem with Bigpond competing against Internode, Dodo, Primus, iiNet, etc.

    However when Telstra treats its retail arm (Bigpond) different to it treats other retail companies, then it should not be surprised when the rest of the industry treats it differently as well.

    Is Australia run be communists because we only have one road network - instead of two, one for Holdens and one for everyone else?
  • Serious

    I'm not talking communism. I'm talking about Telstra having a strangle hold on the entire industry.

    You should be looking to innovate. Not regain a monopoly. There is a difference, and unfortunately, the side we can see from Telstra is all about regaining a monopoly, and not fair competition.

    Bigpond's plans aren't retail friendly, at $150/GB, I imagine many mom and dad's taking out another mortgage to pay you extortion rates.

    Data costs Telstra bugger all, others can retail it for $2 - $5 a GB, Telstra is $150/GB. Where's the explanation on that? Extortion rates, because 'you can take advantage of users' ?

    I look at Telstra fairly. They can innovate. They can't regain a monopoly. It's simple, really. Do we have to have duplicate infrastructure, just to convince everyone that competition will exist, at any cost?
  • Exactly

    Let's see some receipts and income transfer between Bigpond and Telstra Wholesale, showing exactly the costs Bigpond pay.

    Oh wait, there are none. That's why Bigpond had 8Mbps before competitiors, and frankly, that's worthy of another competition notice.

    They are supposed to be OPERATIONALLY SEPERATE. That's not the case at the moment, and I suspect another Competition notice be sent to Telstra about that shortly.

    You aren't competing, you are capitalising, and that's a threat to competition in Australia, as well as illegal under the Trade Practices Act.
  • $150/GB compared to $5/GB

    I noticed you ignored my comments about $150/GB, perhaps you are severely uninformed about networks? Or do you support the theft of money from mum and dad users by charging them rates in excess of 30 times cost?
  • $xx/GB is a red herring

    Does the cost per Gb of excess usage really matter?

    If the cost is an issue to you and you still want to connect with BigPond, then surely you would be smart enough to either a) monitor your usage and not exceed the limit for that plan, or b) go onto a plan that shapes your speed instead of charging for excess usage.

    You seem rather hung up on these costs, perhaps you weren't smart enough to do either of the above options??
  • Telstra Vs ACCC, David Vs Goliath

    Telstra, being run by the parasitic vulture from the good old US of A, a people loved & adored by our whimsical PM, doesn't really have to do a damn thing. Johnnie just supports the US & he won't interfere bcoz it's make him look bad to his primary support - George & Co.

    Whilst Johnnie, George's whipping-boy, buckles at the knees whenever George calls him up to say bend down, anything run by an American CEO in Oz will command power that the ACCC doesn't have. Therefore, the ACCC can do nothing. Without support from our whimsical PM, no-one is ever going to take the ACCC seriously.

    Least of all Telstra.
    (Sol means sun, so Sol is the light from whatever angle you choose to look. So if you bend Sol, I'll be able to see. (How tru-eo!) )
  • Strange comment.

    Good Heavens, sounds like the inmates are running the asylum.
  • Telstra sux

    I just want cheap fast broadband. I chose someone else 'cause telstra is lame.
  • The ACCC..What power?

    When the Howard government came to power, it changed the ACCC powers, so it could never win against Telstra.

    Professor Fels pushed the envelope to it's max & the Minister for Comm's made sure the new head of the ACCC could never win.

    Historically, Telstra had absolute power over every aspect of the National network. It was JUDGE, JURY & EXECUTIONER. It has never accepted the commerialisation of the network, even though it was stripped of those powers years ago.

    Come ON Sol. Get over it. Compete like all Telco's have too!

    Unless and until Senator Coonan steps in and forces Telstra to accept the competition it now faces, nothing will change.

    The only way to accomplish that major change, is to separate TW from TR. If the present legislation does not provide that guarantee of transparency, then it is way past the time for a change to the Telecommunication Act. Until that change is enacted AND enforced, we will continue to fall further and further behind in the world of commerce.

    The Mum's and Dad's of Australia also deserve a better service. The present Broadband service provided by BigPond, IS NOT BROADBAND.

    As long as Telstra continues to control the BB service with advertising which is deceptive and refuses to deploy ADSL2+ in ALL exchanges which are equipped with the DSLAM equipment, we will never be able to access all the technologies it is capable of providing.

    We all suffer at the hands of Telstra management from being relegated to a banana republic. Telstra is NO longer an Australian company. It is run by Americans and a large proportion of the shareholding is now OFF shore.

    It is time the average user realised this fact!
  • Excess usage

    I'm not a Bigpond customer at all. It's rubbish.

    My point is, mum and dad users don't monitor usage, and when little Joe gets home from school, and downloads the latest Linkin Park soundtrack, and figures he'll go visit a few porn sites and get some viruses, mum and dad end up looking to remortgage their house due to Bigpond's unfair rates.

    My point here was, the Telstra crew don't seem to have a counter argument for the truth, which they happily stifle on now we are talking, but can't do bugger all on other sites, where the dirty laundry gets aired for all to see.