[LINK] Telstra targets 11 rivals in constitutional challenge

Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Fri Jan 26 11:38:26 AEDT 2007

I have SOOO been waiting for this to happen.  I knew it was going to.  I 
didn't think it was going to be so fast though.

See whilst Telstra was 51% owned by Government the Constitution prevents 
the Government owning a business that makes a profit from being unequal and 
unfair in the market against private enterprise.  (One of the reasons the 
old Government Printer eventually shut down - hard to compete with modern 
technology updates and massive private printing business.)

Anyway, now that Telstra is no longer owned by the Government (aka the 
Australian People) it is no longer any different to that of Optus, Adam 
Internet, or any other person in the game..

In fact it's exactly the same and equal.  So constitutionally, why should 
there be any regulation that differs Telstra from any other private company 
in the market?  Is that fair?   Would you like your business to have 
Regulations that restricted it's ability to trade, conduct business, set 

Set prices!  My goodness!  Look at the fuel industry!  But who's going to 
get into bed with Telstra when Telstra needs no one!

The only hope here is for the Government to remove the Regulations that are 
bound in Law in relation to Telstra and give the relevant powers to the 
ACCC under Trade Practices.

But that won't help the local loop issue, as Telstra has it's control over 
those resources and will not be letting anyone have a shot without forking 
out the megabucks to prevent adequate competition.

The problem here is that the Laws in relation to cables and cable runs will 
now have to be relaxed too.  The old "500 meter rule" will have to go, as 
will the rules preventing or restricting business from running cables for 

It would be unfair of the Government to allow Telstra to be the only entity 
allowed to legally run a comms link without batting an eye and restricting 
everyone else - right?

So Telstra won't be too unhappy about giving up the private running of 
cables and wireless links against the relaxing of the regulations that it 
says restricts it.

Telstra targets 11 rivals in constitutional challenge


    * Print
Matt O'Sullivan
January 26, 2007

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TELSTRA'S constitutional challenge against the competition regulator in the 
High Court has also targeted 11 of its telecommunications rivals including 
Optus, Macquarie Telecom and Powertel.

In its ongoing campaign against regulation, Telstra has posted letters 
informing competitors it is suing them and that it will be demanding the 
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission suspend arbitrations which 
have set the prices rivals have to pay to use its telephone networks.

Telstra emphasised at a briefing on Wednesday morning when it announced the 
legal action that it would guarantee its rivals access to its copper-wire 
network at existing prices while the case is under way.

But in the letter sent to competitors late on Wednesday it warned that 
"Telstra reserves all its rights in relation to the supply of [unbundled 
local loop] and [line sharing services] if it is successful in the 

A date is yet to be set for the trial but Telstra has admitted the case 
could take up to two years to reach a resolution at a cost to itself of 
about $1 million.

As of last night, the ACCC had not received Telstra's demands to suspend 
arbitrations relating to access to its copper-wire networks.

In documents lodged with the High Court late on Wednesday, Telstra named 
the other defendants as Primus, Amcom, Chime Communications, XYZed, Request 
Broadband, NEC Australia, Adam Internet and Agile.

Macquarie Telecom's regulatory chief, Matt Healy, said on Thursday that 
Telstra's legal action was aimed at creating uncertainty in order to stop 
competitors' rollout of infrastructure using the incumbent telecom's network.

"It's about dragging everyone in this industry through the courts and 
raising the uncertainty. This is part of Telstra's tactic to divert our 
resources," he said.

A Telstra spokesman, Rod Bruem, said the wholesale agreements would remain 
unchanged until the case was resolved but "then, of course, it will need to 
be a renegotiation after the outcome".

"If it went Telstra's way 
 and these prices don't allow Telstra to recover 
 there is the potential for a big payment there," he said on Thursday.

The arbitrations "from Telstra's perspective" were also on hold while the 
legal proceeding were under way, he said.

The challenge in the High Court is viewed as a sign Telstra is desperate to 
pressure the Federal Government to relent on rules about the prices it can 
charge rivals for access to its phone lines.

A senior Nationals MP, Paul Neville, said on Thursday that he did not 
believe the Government should make concessions to Telstra on regulation.

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