The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications sought feedback on whether it should allow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission the power to permit certain fixed line networks to sell both wholesale and retail services.

Currently networks serving up to 2,000 residential premises can operate as both a wholesaler and retailer. The Department consulted on whether this limit should be extended to networks serving up to 12,000 customers in order to encourage investment and create more infrastructure competition. ACCAN considered that this should not happen until the following safeguards have been established:

  • The Federal Government sets wholesale service standards for all statutory infrastructure providers to ensure network operators delivery minimum standards when it comes to new connections, fault rectifications, appointment keeping and internet speeds.
  • Appropriate regulation is in place to prevent network operators from charging monopolistic prices.

Until these safeguards are in place, policies which encourage an increase in new networks with very limited regulation could result in consumers paying higher prices and receiving poor quality services over embedded networks.

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