Watchdog sets its sights on Telstra's country practices
Telstra may have its monopoly fees for remote services interrupted, with the ACCC about to begin an inquiry into the company’s internet prices.
The competition regulator and consumer watchdog ACCC decided to conduct the inquiry after Telstra’s big rivals including iiNet, Vodafone and Macquarie Telecom called for a review of the National Broadband Network policy.
The rival telcos have argued that there is not enough legislation for infrastructure sharing in remote areas and that Telstra is allowed to charge too much for ‘backhaul’ services, the fee for carting information around the country.
iiNet chief Michael Malone says backhaul reform is the missing piece in the NBN policy. He says Telstra is able to dominate Australia's $35 billion a year telecommunications sector by outpricing its competitors, because it controls most of the nation's backhaul links.
Mr Malone said there was a disconnect between the costs of shifting data overseas, which he said had fallen from $130 a megabit to $8, and that transporting data domestically was a key area that needed to be redressed by either the NBN Co or the regulator.
The ACCC has now granted Telstra’s rivals their wish, announcing it will begin an inquiry into network sharing and backhaul prices this year.