Optus, iiNet seek ACCC help on Telstra pricing

Two of Telstra's biggest competitors have backed up their public complaints about the cost of accessing the heavyweight's copper network with formal requests for the nation's competition regulator to step in. Announcing the filing of the complaints -- from iiNet, its wholesale subsidiary Chime Communications and Optus -- yesterday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said both related to access to the so-called Unconditioned Local Loop Service (ULLS).

Two of Telstra's biggest competitors have backed up their public complaints about the cost of accessing the heavyweight's copper network with formal requests for the nation's competition regulator to step in.

Announcing the filing of the complaints -- from iiNet, its wholesale subsidiary Chime Communications and Optus -- yesterday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said both related to access to the so-called Unconditioned Local Loop Service (ULLS).

The service provides access to Telstra's copper running to customers' premises for telcos like iiNet and Optus, who are rolling out their own infrastructure in Telstra's exchanges.

"The access dispute relates to various price and non-price terms of supply of the ULLS," said the ACCC in a statement.

Cost of access to the ULLS is currently the subject of a highly charged debate between Telstra and other telcos, the ACCC, and the federal government.

iiNet and Chime Communications also notified the ACCC of an access dispute relating to the use of the Line Sharing Service (LSS) which allows customers to use one telco for DSL services and another for fixed-line telephony, even though both telcos use the same copper telephone line.

Access to Telstra's Domestic Transmission Capacity Service was also a problem for iiNet. The ACCC describes the service as "a generic service that can be used for the carriage of voice, data or other communications using wideband or broadband carriage", at a miniumum bandwidth of 2Mbps.

The ACCC said an earlier ULLS dispute had been withdrawn by Optus and so no determination would be made on that dispute.

According to the regulator, it has commenced arbitration in both cases but would not make public comment yet as legislation dictated the arbitrations must be conducted privately.

The news comes as Telstra announced the head of its wholesale division Deena Shiff would move to the job of group managing director for small to medium enterprises.

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