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ACCC to review backhaul declaration

Consumer watchdog to examine whether its Domestic Transmission Capacity Service declaration is still needed.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has begun an inquiry into whether the declaration of Domestic Transmission Capacity Service (DTCS) is still needed beyond its expiration on March 31, 2019.

The use of non-regulated backhaul, industry consolidation, and NBN plans for business customers were raised by the watchdog as areas it will look at.

"It is important to review the scope of our regulation to determine whether the way in which we describe the regulated service adequately reflects the manner in which transmission services are currently being sold and purchased," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said on Monday.

"If the market has changed to a significant extent, we will examine whether other service features should be included in the service description."

When last declared in March 2014, the ACCC said at least three independent backhaul providers needed to be present at an exchange for it to be considered competitive.

Sims said the new inquiry would look at competition at NBN points of interconnect (POI), and whether backhaul for mobile service in regional and rural areas should be considered separately.

According to a discussion paper also released on Monday, of the 121 NBN POIs, 46 are in exchanges currently regulated.

"While the market dynamics are constantly evolving it remains likely that there will be a need to maintain some DTCS regulation in areas where competition is less developed," the paper said.

Interested parties have until April 13, 2018 to make a submission to the inquiry.

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