Telstra lodges separation undertaking

Summary:Telstra has today lodged its revised structural separation undertaking (SSU) with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Telstra has today lodged its revised structural separation undertaking (SSU) with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The separation undertaking outlines how Telstra will separate its arms so that it doesn't act like a vertically integrated telco. The company had already released an SSU in July, but the ACCC had told the telco to rework the undertaking, as it was concerned that Telstra wouldn't offer equivalent wholesale services to its rivals.

Telstra chief executive David Thodey today said that the revised undertaking was the result of extensive consultation with the ACCC and the industry since the first undertaking was lodged in July.

"We have taken on-board the feedback, and we believe the revised SSU provides the interim arrangements the industry requires as it transitions to the structurally separated model provided by the National Broadband Network [NBN]," Thodey said.

Telstra said on Friday that the changes in the SSU are important, but that they don't constitute material change in the context of the deal between NBN Co and Telstra, which was recently approved by Telstra shareholders.

Under the deal, Telstra will progressively decommission its copper-based network, and allow NBN Co to access its pits, manholes and exchanges, and sell some infrastructure.

In return, Telstra will receive $11 billion from the federal government, with the financial benefits to come over a 30-year period.

There were concerns that the deal might be in trouble, because the ACCC had not yet approved an SSU for Telstra, a condition of the deal, despite the deadline being 20 December. However, Telstra also said today that it and NBN Co, the builder of the government's network, intended to extend the end date for the conditions to be met under the definitive agreements.

The ACCC welcomed Telstra's revised undertaking in a statement on Friday.

"The ACCC welcomes the substantial revisions and additional commitments that Telstra has made in order to address ACCC and industry concerns about equivalence and transparency," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The regulator said in August that it could not accept a crucial aspect of the SSU, saying that the telco had no compliance plan for its commitment to structurally separate its two arms from 2018.

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government : AU, NBN, Telcos, Telstra

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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