Thursday, June 24, 2010

Australia - Govt has admitted Telstra to the National Broadband Network , amending the Telecoms Bill

[it wire] The Government has released a set of amendments to its stalled telecommunications regulatory reform legislation in the wake of the deal struck the Telstra on customer migration to the NBN and the closure of the copper network.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the changes to the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 would give greater regulatory certainty to Telstra and the industry for the transitional period during the construction phase of national broadband network when Telstra customers are progressively moved to the new fibre network.

The amendments give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) a clear mechanism to consider an enforceable undertaking from Telstra to structurally separate its business as it retires its copper network.

Senator Conroy said the changes will give the industry greater clarity of how the separation process will take place, and cuts Telstra some slack to allow it to seek a formal approval from its shareholders on its stated plan to migrate fixed line customers to the NBN infrastructure.

The amendments address a number of the issues that have been raised with the Government since the Bill was introduced in September last year.

Senator Conroy's office said there remained other issues related to the bill that Government was considering which may also require further amendments.

The reform legislation is central to the Government's whole communications strategy. It says the Bill strengthens consumer protections, generates more competition, encourages better services and lower prices – all in the interests of consumers, business and the economy more broadly.

The Bill has been stalled in the Senate since September. In recent months, the Opposition has stacked its speaker list each time the Bill has been presented, prompting Government accuse Coalition of filibustering and choking the Senate legislative program.

Conroy deals ACCC into NBN-Telstra agreement

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