in brief The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that it will use the new powers it received from telco reform legislation passed this year to set prices for fixed-line services from January next year.
Before the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Act 2010 was passed in the last hours of the sitting year, if carriers could not agree on terms of access to a declared service, one of the involved parties could bring an access dispute to the ACCC. The ACCC would then arbitrate. As this system wasn't considered to be working, the new legislation (which starts 1 January 2011) allows the ACCC to set up-front prices and non-price terms for declared services where access seekers aren't already in a commercial agreement.
The ACCC said today that it intends to use these new powers to issue interim access determinations for price and non-price terms for fix-line services early next year.
The Commission has been consulting with industry on indicative pricing and pricing principles, with draft pricing principles and prices released in September this year. According to the ACCC chairman Graham Samuel, the Commission is still considering submissions on the consultations.