Telstra Split: Optus Doth Protest…Again

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Optus strikes again. This time the Sing-Tel owned telco is cribbing about ambiguity within Telstra proposed split.
In particular, Optus is worried about the terms under which Telstra has outlined the sharing of its copper wire broadband network with rivals during the the NBN switch-over, believing it to be too “broad.”

“Optus is concerned that some important elements of the drafting of the OEO are ambiguous and as such they are likely to undermine the effectiveness and enforceability of the Overarching Equivalence Obligation,” its 10-page submission to the Australian Consumer and Competition Authority reads.

This marks the latest complaint Optus has made to the competition watchdog, the ACCC, about the proposed Telstra break up of its retail and wholesale arms as outlined in its Structural Separation Undertaking (SSU).

Telstra SSU has been drafted and redrafted several times since it was first drawn up last year, following submissions made by third parties.

Paul O Sullivan, Optus CEO, previously branded the proposed split as “fatally flawed.”

However, the telco notes, in its submission to the ACCC dated January 2012, just “a small number of further amendments are required to be made to the SSU if it is to deliver the improvements” required.

In fact, Optus are so concerned about Telstra breaching their overarching obligation that is demanding the ACCC have the power to stop the telco from engaging in activity that could be an alleged breach (of its overarching obligation(s).

Price of wholesale ADSL is also another area of concern for Optus who are also calling on the competition watchdog to “extend its price setting powers by declaring the wholesale ADSL service,” which is presently under consideration in a separate inquiry.

 

Macquarie Telecom as a Telstra whoesale customer, also voiced similar concerns to the competition watchdog last week, accusing the break-up arrangement of lacking “transparency.”

Read Stop! Macquarie To Block Telstra Split Here

Telstra other main rivals Adam internet, iiNet and Internode have also combined to give their tuppence worth to the ACCC.

A final decision will be made on the Telstra’s separation sometime next February, but will be contingent on completion of the Commission’s inquiry into wholesale ADSL services, an ACCC spokesperson told SmartHouse last week.

In other words, the latest round of objections vocied by Optus et al could  put a spanner into the works for Telstra (and the NBN) if the ACCC remain unhappy with the proposed arrangements. 

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