ACCC allows Telstra more time to reply

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this morning confirmed it had granted Telstra a two-day extension of time to respond to a consultation notice over its recent broadband price cuts.An ACCC spokesperson told ZDNet Australia &nbsp the carrier now had until 4pm Thursday to reply to the notice after previously being given until 4pm today.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this morning confirmed it had granted Telstra a two-day extension of time to respond to a consultation notice over its recent broadband price cuts.

An ACCC spokesperson told ZDNet Australia &nbsp the carrier now had until 4pm Thursday to reply to the notice after previously being given until 4pm today. The move came, she said, after discussions between the two parties.

The consultation notice is one of the later steps in a process initiated by the competition watchdog which could eventually see Telstra fined several million dollars over its recent pricing initiatives, as well as opening the door for rivals to undertake legal action against the telecommunications company. These initiatives -- launched in late February -- saw BigPond's retail broadband prices slashed to a point which rival Internet service providers said was below the wholesale prices they had to pay for access to the telecommunications company's infrastructure.

Issuing of the consultation notice came after the watchdog issued an advisory notice to the telecommunications company following the release to the market of retail broadband prices as low as AU$29.95. The carrier subsequently cut its wholesale prices to a level only slightly below that.

If the regulator is not satisfied with Telstra's response, it could seek to have the carrier fined AU$10 million for an individual breach of the Trade Practices Act and AU$1 million for each day the breach continues. The matter would be pursued in the Federal Court.

A Telstra spokesperson declined to comment on the issue.