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ISP gang of nine dobs in Telstra to ACCC

After writing to the ACCC late last month, a delegation of nine ISPs has met with the head of the competition watchdog to discuss their concerns regarding Telstra's conduct and a looming ADSL2+ "drought".
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Written by Marcus Browne on

After writing to the ACCC late last month, a delegation of nine ISPs has met with the head of the competition watchdog to discuss their concerns regarding Telstra's conduct and a looming ADSL2+ "drought".

Spearheaded by South Australian-based provider Internode, the nine ISPs requested the ACCC take action to discourage Telstra from the "anti-competitive" practice of blocking access to its recently activated ADSL2+ network.

The letter asked ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel to reprimand the national carrier should it fail to comply with repeated requests from rival providers to open up access to the network.

Internode managing director Simon Hackett said the ACCC is now investigating Telstra after a meeting between the competition watchdog and the ISP delegation in Canberra discussed the claims made by the nine service providers.

Hackett warned that Telstra's monopoly over the network would lead to an ADSL2+ "drought", which he described as the "point at which all other providers have run their remaining stocks of port capacity to zero" under Telstra's capped access arrangements.

"The point is that key exchanges are now in zones in which there will be only BigPond ADSL2+ to choose from if you want a new service once existing port stocks are run to zero by existing competitors," Hackett told ZDNet.com.au today.

The Internode managing director said that out of the 300 exchanges that currently service the majority of metropolitan Australia, there are approximately 80 that fall into this category.

"If that isn't the definition of a retail monopoly for ADSL2+, it is difficult to see what is," he said.

According to the ISP delegation, Telstra has not made any attempt to engage with industry in resolving the problem, leaving them with no other choice but to appeal to the ACCC over the situation.

"Established government and regulatory policy is for competitors to build their own facilities-based infrastructure; but we are being increasingly blocked from doing so," said Hackett.

"Hence the only answer here -- as we could expect years of delay from Telstra over exchange access blocks -- is to have the ACCC mandate the provision of wholesale ADSL2+ from Telstra until they get the capping issue fully resolved," he said.

The ACCC had not responded to ZDNet.com.au's request for comment at the time of publication.

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