A lobby group representing rival carriers has slammed Foxtel’s request it be allowed to offer a new IPTV service to customers on the condition that they have a broadband connection with its part-owner Telstra.
The CCC represents a number of telcos such as Primus, iiNet, AAPT and more — but not Telstra. It is led by director David Forman. Some of these telcos – such as iiNet – are planning to offer IPTV services that will only be available to customers of their own broadband infrastructure.
“There is no technical reason why Foxtel could not make this offer available to the customers of any broadband provider. In fact, it should be in Foxtel’s interests to open the offer to customers of all broadband providers,” said the CCC in a statement issued yesterday.
Because Telstra is half owner of Foxtel, Telstra has an incentive to use this relationship as another means to exploit its market power to reduce consumer choice,” it added.
The group will argue that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – which is currently examining the proposal – turn it down.
The CCC added that the proposal was “a brazen example” of how the current structure of the telecommunications industry was failing consumers – and stated that the proposal was another example why the Senate needed to pass Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s legislation to reform the telecommunications industry – including the forced break-up of Telstra’s wholesale and retail operations.
“Only a change of the law will remove the incentive on Telstra to continue to act against the interests of competition and the long term interests of consumers,” said the CCC.
In its submission, Foxtel noted that the current market for the supply of audiovisual content was “highly competitive”.
It noted, for example, that customers could already watch free to air television (including online episodes known as ‘catch-up TV’), DVDs, online video services offered through the TiVo and Apple TV platforms, online video services offered through iTunes, YouTube and the ABC’s iView application, and subscribe to other payTV offerings from rival providers Austar, Optus and SelecTV.
Foxtel also highlighted the imminent launch by Telstra telco rival iiNet of its own internet video service through IPTV specialist FetchTV. And it even noted that online television network joint venture Hulu could come to Australia.
Foxtel and Telstra have been invited by email to comment on the CCC’s statement. Any response will be added into this article.