Telstra taken to court by competition body

23 March 2009

SYDNEY: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has initiated court proceedings against Telstra, the former state-owned telecoms provider, accusing it of denying its rivals access to key elements of its network.

According to the government body, Telstra blocked seven of its competitors, who were seeking to provide phone and broadband services, access to its exchanges in a number of metropolitan areas.

The company reportedly informed its fellow telecoms providers that their use of its network was "capped", and that there was no space available for them to connect to the exchanges in question.

Eight of Telstra's smaller rivals have formed the Competitive Carriers Coalition, and David Foreman, the executive director of the body, said the company has in fact "kept competitors out of exchanges for years."

This, he argued, effectively meant that it had "stopped consumers from being given the choice of competitive prices and services."

David Quilty, Telstra's group managing director, public policy and communications, said the company was effectively being sued "for something we proactively and voluntarily reviewed and fixed a year ago."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff