Telstra's chains remain intact

The competition regulator will continue to regulate key fixed-line telecommunications services provided by Telstra to rivals, in a move seen as maintaining the status quo. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Graeme Samuel outlined the decision in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange this morning.

The competition regulator will continue to regulate key fixed-line telecommunications services provided by Telstra to rivals, in a move seen as maintaining the status quo.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Graeme Samuel outlined the decision in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange this morning.

"The ACCC has decided to continue the regulation of the unconditioned local loop service, PSTN originating and terminating access services and local carriage service for three years from 1 August 2006," Samuel said. "It has also decided to formalise the declaration of a wholesale line rental service."

The services are used by many rivals like Optus, Macquarie Telecom and others to sell their own voice and data services to end users.

Samuel said the decision would promote competition and be in the long-term interest of end-users.

"However, the ACCC intends to maintain a close watch on the competitive influence of infrastructure deployed by Telstra's competitors," he said.

The ACCC boss noted some services were exempt from regulation in some CBD areas due to better levels of competition.

David Kennedy, a senior analyst from telecommunications research group Ovum, told ZDNet Australia via telephone he regarded the ACCC's decision as "maintaining the status quo".

"The significance of this is that these services will continue to be subject to arbitration," he said.

"Because they're declared, it means that Telstra will have a statutory obligation to offer those services. And the terms and conditions on which they're offered are subject to arbitration."

Kennedy said from the perspective of Telstra and its rivals it was a case of business as usual.

The ACCC has also issued pricing principles and draft indicative prices for the services.

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