Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has released the draft regulatory instruments that will ultimately guide the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission when regulating the structural separation of the wholesale and retail arms of Telstra.
After amending to the Telecommunications Act late last year, the government has now released draft instruments that will form the framework for the separation to take place.
Should the pending $11 billion agreement between Telstra, the government and NBN Co be completed and approved by Telstra shareholders, the company will then lodge a structural separation undertaking (SSU) with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The draft instruments released today set out:
- What the ACCC must examine before accepting the SSU from Telstra
- What parts of Telstra's networks and services are exempt from the scope of the SSU
- The timing and processes for the migration of Telstra customers onto the National Broadband Network
- What the migration plan may contain, as well as what it must not contain
- The level of transparency that must apply to Telstra during the structural separation process.
Transparency during the separation was vital, according to Conroy.
"It is important industry is able to access Telstra's copper network on a transparent and equivalent basis during the period Telstra is migrating customer services to the NBN," he said.
"In my guidance to the ACCC, and under the reforms passed late last year, I have made clear that the ACCC must not accept a structural separation undertaking unless it is satisfied Telstra will put in place appropriate and effective transparency and equivalence arrangements during the transition to structural separation."
NBN Co's head of services Kevin Brown said the Telstra deal was within weeks of finalisation, and said that he believed the deal would bring an end to debate over whether state governments should legislate to require premises to opt out of having fibre installed to premises, as the copper network would be decommissioned.