DSL report to revise wholesale regulation

Optus SLAMS softer exchange pricing

Wholesale voice and data access regulation may be cut back or scrapped in heavily serviced areas following results from an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report.

The report qualifies services in operation (SIO) across Telstra's broadband networks in metropolitan, CBD, regional and remote areas, and comes a week after the ACCC ruled Telstra must show detailed records of DSL provisioning.

That ruling follows a series of complaints from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that claimed Telstra was denying access to its exchanges due to "insufficient space" and long delays with its queuing system.

ACCC general manager of telecommunications Grahame Cosgrave said the report will affect regulations including pricing and wholesale access in ADSL-saturated areas.

"A requirement to provided wholesale local calls and wholesale line rental in areas where people have deployed DSLAMS," Cosgrave said.

"We need to track the ability of competitors to access exchanges and deploy DSLAMS; if they are able to offer alternative services, we can review the need for existing regulation."

The report is the first to detail Unconditioned Local Loop (ULL) and Line Sharing Service (LSS) uptake across metro to remote areas, which is crucial to formulate access regulation. Figures released in Telstra annual reports did not break down figures by geographic boundaries.

Optus director of corporate affairs Maha Krishnapillai said the ACCC should focus on how the National Broadband Network (NBN) will affect ADSL investment in regional areas.

"The ACCC holds a view that investment will be encouraged in areas where competition is starting to bite by rolling back regulation, but this narrow view takes no account of the a massive overhang in the industry," Krishnapillai said.

"Business will not invest in regional areas because of the fear uncertainty and doubt surrounding the national broadband network."

"You logically wouldn't put a DSLAM into a regional exchange if it is about to be stranded in the next few years [due to the NBN]."

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