ACCC begins review of Telstra pricing

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced a review of Telstra pricing as the telco’s current price controls expire on June 30, 2005.

The current price controls require Telstra to reduce average prices for certain types of calls, restrain Telstra’s ability to charge the full cost for line rentals and provide protection measures for low-income consumers.

The ACCC will assess the efficiency of the current price controls, examining a wide range of issues and taking into consideration the effects across different customer groups.

The review will focus on the distributional impacts of price controls on metropolitan, regional, residential, and business consumers.

Minister for Technology and the Arts, Daryl Williams, said one of the most important issues for future price control regulation would be the effect of new technologies, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on pricing structures and the impact of price controls on those technologies. This wais also one of the areas the ACCC would be investigating.

A Telstra spokesperson said the telco was aware of the price cap review, and was unwilling to comment on any anticipated outcome.

In conducting the review, the ACCC is required to consult with relevant stakeholders including the telecommunications industry, business, small business, residential, consumer, regional and rural organisations.

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