Parts 7 and 8 of the Telecommunications Act provide an important basis to ensure that broadband networks operate in a similar way and to the benefit of consumers. They require network operators to offer services to any retail providers on request (offer open access on a non-discriminatory basis) and that they must operate separate to the retail level (wholesale only). While these specify the operation of networks, the ultimate aim is to ensure competitive networks exist that benefit consumer by increasing choice of providers.

Since 2012 Telstra have had an exemption to comply with these requirements in the South Brisbane network area. Telstra have now requested a further extension, with the Minister for Communications and the Arts has proposing an extension to January 2020 (designated day).

ACCAN previously raised concerns about this exemption and associated extensions. We do not believe they are in the interest of consumers and therefore we do not support extension to 2020 or an indefinite extension.

Instead ACCAN is proposing that an extension until November 2018 could be granted, at which point a confirmed future path for the South Brisbane network must be confirmed. This will allow sufficient time to implement the chosen option so that it is in place by 2020, the timeframe for other Government broadband commitments.

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