NBN Timetable Threatened As Telstra’s SSU Opposed

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Telstra’s structural separation undertaking could be stalled after the ACCC received critical submissions from AAPT, Optus, Adam Internet, iiNet, Internode and TransACT.

The submissions were posted on the ACCC’s website and according to an ITWire report were in response to the revised SSU discussion paper. The paper was made available by the ACCC on the 16th of December, with oppositions eligible up until Friday the 13th of January. 

Such opposition threatens the agenda of Telstra’s separation and its participation in the NBN. The company has already been granted a 12 month extension by communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy, pushing the deadline back to the 31st of March, 2012. Legislation permits another six month extension, but failure to meet the deadline will see the government intervene and impose a functional separation.

The ACCC wants a decision by mid-February on whether or not the undertaking has been accepted. The commission is prepared to accept the SSU, saying “Provided that the outstanding price equivalence concerns around wholesale ADSL services are resolved, the ACCC is minded to accept Telstra’s revised SSU, subject to any new issues of real substance or drafting matters arising from this consultation process.”

The ACCC identified “a clear and enforceable commitment to an ‘equivalence of outcomes'” as an issue with the original SSU proposal. This “would [have enabled] wholesale customers and Telstra’s retail businesses to access key input services of equivalent quality and functionality.”

Telstra’s competitors shared the same concerns with the ACCC appeasing them by requesting an Overarching Equivalence Obligation (OEO) in the revised SSU.

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