As expected, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this afternoon released the final versions of five key regulatory instruments which will pave the way for Telstra to file its long-awaited structural separation undertaking with the competition regulator.
Following the signing yesterday of Telstra’s $11 billion deal with NBN Co and the Government, Telstra will also now file a plan under which its fixed-line customers will be migrated to the NBN infrastructure. The documents are:
- The Telecommunications (Acceptance of Undertaking about Structural Separation—Matters) Instrument 2011: Which sets out the matters which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission must have regard to when deciding whether to accept Telstra’s structural separation undertaking;
- The Telecommunications (Structural Separation—Networks and Services Exemption) Instrument (No.1) 2011: Which exempts certain networks and services from the scope of Telstra’s undertaking;
- The Telecommunications (Migration Plan Principles) Determination 2011: Which sets out mandatory elements of the plan to progressively migrate Telstra’s fixed-line customers onto the National Broadband Network;
- The Telecommunications (Migration Plan—Specified Matters) Instrument 2011: Which sets out matters that the migration plan may contain, in addition to those specified under the Telecommunications Act. In addition, it also sets out matters that the migration plan must not contain; and
- The Telecommunications (Regulated Services) Determination (No. 1) 2011: Which determines telecommunications services to which the transparency and equivalence measures set out in Telstra’s undertaking must apply.
All of the documents are available online from the website of the Department of Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy.
Conroy said the reforms provided a “once in a generation opportunity” to create a level playing field in the telecommunications sector and allow competition and investment to “flourish” for the venefit of consumers.
“The instruments I made today will require Telstra to make new commitments to equivalence and provide for stronger transparency measures during Telstra’s transition to full structural separation,” he said.
“The delivery of this structural reform, in parallel with the rollout of the National Broadband Network, will finally enable all Australians to have better and fairer access to world class broadband services at affordable prices.”
The documents have incorporated changes made as a result of a recent public consultation process, which ended on 15 June. Not everyone was satisfied with the instruments the way they were drafted. Earlier this month, Optus, for example, slammed the drafts, according to a report published by ZDNet.com.au, claiming they would do nothing to improve the telco market before the completion of the NBN rollout.