Cut access price, Telstra told
Phone and internet bills are likely to fall after the competition watchdog recommended Telstra cut the price it charges other telcos to access its copper wire network.
Many of Telstra’s phone and internet rivals pay the telco giant to provide phone and broadband services via the Telstra network.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says that price should fall by 9.6 per cent from October, as the number of Australians relying on the copper network falls as it is progressively replaced by the national broadband network.
The falling number of customers still using services provided over the copper network should not be hit with the sizeable costs of maintaining the ageing asset, the ACCC said.
“If there is no adjustment for these higher costs then customers who have not been migrated to the NBN will pay significantly higher prices for copper-based services,” chairman Rod Sims said.
“Eventually, these prices would reach absurd levels for the unlucky last copper customers.”
Telstra said it was disappointed with the recommended price cut.
The ACCC should be setting prices that mean all companies using the copper network equally bear the cost of operating it, a company spokesman said.
The per-customer cost of operating the network will rise in the next few years, and Telstra’s deal with the Federal Government for the rollout of the NBN does not account for the increase, the telco said.
“If the ACCC reduces access prices on the legacy network, they risk making the transition to the NBN harder for everyone — consumers, industry and NBN Co,” the spokesman said.
The ACCC’s decision is only a draft ruling, with further market feedback being sought before the regulator makes a final ruling at the end of September.
Telstra said it would work with the ACCC to ensure its decision treated all users of its network equally. AAP
ACCC chairman Rod Sims warns customers not on the NBN will pay higher prices for copper-based services if costs are not adjusted.