ACCC loses court battle

The ACCC served a competition notice against Telstra in relation to expensive wholesale line rental, that it had deemed as anti – competitive (and rightly so too). This notice was served in April last year, after Telstra raised the line rental price by $3.10 for wholesale.

The ACCC removed that notice in early March due to changing regulatory circumstances, makes sense, if the environment changes, and the notice is no longer applicable, the notice should definitely no longer stand.

Telstra seemingly continued the case through to the Federal Court, at that point in time, Telstra informed Broadband News Website, Whirlpool, “It was disturbing [that] the ACCC could get it so wrong”, obviously disagreeing with the notice, and indicating that a possible misunderstanding was going on.

The Federal Court today ruled that the notice itself was invalid, because the ACCC didn’t follow procedure. That’s probably a valid point, all too often we can see government departments outgoing, not following procedure, but anything inbound to any department follows procedure (sometimes lengthy, and full of red tape), or it doesn’t get done.

So, because the ACCC didn’t contact Telstra, as they are apparently supposed to, prior to issuing a competition notice, the notice was deemed invalid.

I think the ACCC might have followed due procedure, because the breach was with regard to the “charging of higher prices for wholesale, then is available retail” provisions, which basically gives immediate grounds for a notice to ANY company.

However, the mixup, or the technicality, is being abused by Telstra’s nowwearetalking website as leverage, taking it completely out of context.

The regulations themselves were most likely sound, the procedure followed with issuing the notice was NOT followed, and that’s all the issue was. Even consulting with Telstra and following procedure at that point in time, I’m sure that the notice would have stood, until the ACCC removed it.

I guess they do need to take a bit more care in issuing notices, and follow procedures, not just so they don’t get flack like this, but so it really sticks to Telstra after they pay lawyers to fight it, only to go back to the same judge, and be told to.. well, pay up.

Telstra like to spin anything so they seem like the good guys, but they are demanding 27% return on an FTTN network, that other providers aren’t demanding, which means that well, cheaper prices for consumers with faster internet connections, as is the case now with ADSL2+. Go anywhere but Telstra, and your net connection contains more value, at a cheaper price.

Telstra are money hungry pigs, and the more people that find that out, and start looking at alternatives, the better off we all will eventually be. They might fight by rising prices, but a fat load of good that’s gonna be when they have no customers to raise prices too.. It should promote the exact opposite, lower prices, faster speeds, more innovation, better value.

Our current broadband sucks, unless you have ADSL2+, which means you live in a capital city, or large metro area, in which case, your doing pretty good!

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