[LINK] Telecommunications legislation vital for ACT residents

Alex (Maxious) Sadleir maxious at gmail.com
Tue Nov 23 18:03:47 AEDT 2010

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM, Marghanita da Cruz
<marghanita at ramin.com.au> wrote:
>> Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy has welcomed the second reading in the Senate of the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010.
>> The bill passed through the House of Representatives last week and needs to pass the Senate if consumers are to benefit from the reforms it delivers.

The bill in question:
It alters the Telecommunications Act to make spectrum ( 520 MHz-820
MHz currently UHF Television channels and 2.5 GHz-2.69 GHz currently
Electronic News Gathering/Outside Broadcast) available to Telstra only
if they have undertakings relating to either structural or functional
separation. This in part is defined as a situation "Telstra will not
supply fixed-line carriage services to retail customers in Australia
using a telecommunications network over which Telstra is in a position
to exercise control" (Section 577A).

More controversially, Section 577BA authorises Telstra, NBN
corporations (NBN Co, NBN Tasmania) and "certain other persons"
(Corporations that acquire assets from Telstra ie. new companies
created to own the fixed line network that are not the NBN) to make
undertakings between them that would usually be considered Restrictive
Trade Practices under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formally
the Trade Practices Act, which will be superseded at the end of the

Section 577B relates to the Migration of customers from the Telstra
infrastructure to the NBN for their fixed line telecommunications. The
Communications Minister gets to define some principles for any plans
Telstra may come up with, which presumably will spell out the
technical details about informed consent and such.

Sections 577C and 577D specify what structural separation would be in
the context of the Hybrid fibre-coaxial networks and Subscription
television broadcasting licences. This is necessary if the
Communications Minister isn't satisfied that the fixed line network
separation "is sufficient to address concerns about the degree of
Telstra’s power in telecommunications markets".

There's some more interesting stuff about altering the arrangements
around Telecommunications Access Codes to increase the ACCC's ability
to regulate them better than they have done with Telstra over ADSL
(mostly by giving them the powers that ACMA had in that field
previously). And altering the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection
and Service Standards) Act 1999 to make a mobile or VoIP service an
acceptable way to fulfill the Universal Service Obligation.

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