Case Studies

Acting on a major telecommunications network access matter

• 18 May 2017 • 1 min read
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We advised Optus in its successful defence against Telstra relating to access to the Telstra copper network

We advised telecommunications leader Optus in its successful defence against attempts by Telstra to charge it and other telecommunications companies a higher rate for access to the Telstra copper network.

In a significant win for consumers, the Federal Court confirmed in March 2017 an earlier decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that Telstra would need to lower the access price paid by rival telcos to access Telstra’s copper network by 9.4 percent.

The ACCC’s original decision hinged on how Telstra was able to recoup costs associated with the rollout of the National Broadband Network. Telstra argued that the unit costs for maintaining the network would increase as less people would be using its network as they migrated to the NBN. This meant that Telstra lost the opportunity to exploit certain economies of scale.

The ACCC determined – and the Federal Court confirmed – that Telstra had the opportunity to be compensated for these costs during its commercial negotiations with NBN Co. and that these costs should not be passed on to other telcos and, ultimately, consumers.

The Maddocks team on the matter was led by partners Brendan Coady and Norman Lucas and senior associate Erin Hourigan.

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