The performance of the Australian telecommunications regulatory regime

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The performance of the Australian telecommunications regulatory regime

10 August 2005

© Commonwealth of Australia 2005
ISBN 0 642 71557 2

View the report as a single document - (PDF 1159KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

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Committee membership (PDF 158KB)
Terms of Reference (PDF 118KB)
List of Tables & Figures (PDF 86KB)
Recommendations (PDF 128KB)
Abbreviations (PDF 117KB)
Chapter 1 - Background to the inquiry (PDF 129KB)
Conduct of the inquiry
Outline of the report
Note on references in this report
Chapter 2 - The telecommunications environment (PDF 315KB)
Regulatory overview
The need for a review
Telecommunications as an essential social service
The pending sale and privatisation of Telstra
Telecommunication services in rural and regional areas
Poor quality of telecommunications services
The need for high speed telecommunications
Future services to rural and regional areas
Future investment in the telecommunications network
Chapter 3 - Competition (PDF 314KB)
The current regulatory regime
Part XIB - anti-competitive conduct
Part IV – anti-competitive conduct
Comparison of Part IV and Part XIB
Accounting separation and record-keeping rules
Anti-competitive behaviour: a case study
Part XIB: lessons learnt
Defining abuse of market power
Proving decreased competition – the effectiveness of accounting separation
Difficulty in mounting a legal case
Flaws in the process
Financial penalties
Impact on smaller players
The ACCC's powers
Telstra's response
The Committee's view
Telstra's relationship with its wholesale customers
Competitors' capacity to roll out infrastructure
Telstra's deployment of services into regions once a competitor has rolled out infrastructure
Aggressive pricing practices
Churning customers from the Telstra network
The unrecoverable costs of dealing with Telstra
Managing customer problems on the Telstra network
ADSL on Telstra lines
Chapter 4 - Access (PDF 290KB)
The legislative framework
The policy intention
Declaration of services
Standard access obligations
Conditions of access
Model terms – core services
Price of access
Ordinary and anticipatory exemptions from SAOs
Special access undertakings
Key issues
The process of declaring services
Inherent delays in the regime
Regulatory gaming and delay
Impediments other than access price
Facility sharing
Pricing issues
Declaration, investment and regulatory ‘safe harbours’
'Dark fibre'
Chapter 5 - Consumer issues (PDF 330KB)
The framework for consumer protection
Universal Service Regime
Digital Data Service Obligation (DDSO)
Customer Service Guarantee
DCITA Review 2004
DDSO delivery arrangements
Criticism of services under the USO
The standard telephone service
Costing and funding of the USO
Contestability arrangements
Expanding the USO
Support for the inclusion of broadband in the USO
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP)
Hearing and speech impaired customers
The HiBIS model
Evidence about the CSG
Unfair consumer contracts and Standard Forms of Agreement
Industry codes and standards
The legislative framework
Criticism of the codes process
Meeting consumer expectations
Involvement of consumers
The Consumer Driven Communications Report
The Consumer Contracts Industry Code
Dispute resolution – the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
The main issues facing the TIO
Billing complaints
Possible solutions in complaints resolution
Other issues
Price controls and low income customers
Remote Indigenous communities
Emergency call service
Chapter 6 - A blueprint for the future (PDF 378KB)
The structure of Telstra: achieving greater transparency
Structural separation
Operational separation
Application of models to other competitors
The Committee's view
Other powers
The TPA: Part XIB and section 46
The TPA: Part XIC
Foxtel and the HFC
Investment in infrastructure
Meeting consumer demands
The Universal Service Obligation
Broadband options
People with hearing and speech impairment
The Customer Service Guarantee
Consumer protection
Complaint handling and code compliance
Low income consumers
The Emergency Call Service
Government Members' Dissenting Report (PDF 198KB)
Recommendations which Government Senators reject
Separation of Telstra
Broadband infrastructure
The Universal Service Obligation
Broadband infrastructure, including the Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme
The Estens Report
Consumer issues
Recommendations supported in principle
Appendix 1 - Submissions and Tabled Documents (PDF 156KB)
Tabled Documents
Appendix 2 - Public Hearings (PDF 124KB)

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Environment, Communications and the Arts
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3526
Fax: +61 2 6277 5818