Industry-specific codes and rules
The ACCC is also involved in reviewing and overseeing a number of industry-specific codes and rules. On 4 July 2012, the ACCC began a review of the Facilities Access Code following changes to the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the CCA. The Facilities Access Code sets out arrangements for carriers wishing to install their equipment on or in facilities owned by other carriers. The facilities covered by the code include telecommunications transmission towers, the tower sites, and underground facilities designed to hold lines.
The ACCC consulted on a draft decision to vary the code in May 2013. In September 2013, the ACCC decided to vary the code to remove obsolete references, reflect legislative changes and align it with Telstra’s SSU.
The ACCC collects a range of information from telecommunications companies to monitor competition, market developments and inform its decisions. The Minister can also require the ACCC to monitor and report on various aspects of competition within the industry. In addition, the ACCC reports to the Minster on Telstra’s compliance with retail price controls imposed by the Minister.
In response to statutory reporting requirements, the ACCC released the following reports in 2013 14, all of which are available on the ACCC website:
- • ACCC Telecommunications Report 2012-13
- • Telstra’s compliance with retail price control arrangements 2012-13
- • Telstra’s Structural Separation Undertaking - Compliance Report 2012-13
- • NBN points of interconnection: Review of policies and procedures relating to the identification of listed points of interconnection to the NBN
The ACCC’s involvement in the sector includes:
- • Access regulation which aims to:
- - balance the interests of infrastructure owners, users and the broader public
- - achieve any-to-any connectivity
- - encourage efficient investment in, and use of, infrastructure promote competition for the long-term benefit of consumers and businesses.
- • Introduction of a new wholesale access network:
- - agree and oversee the SAU as part of fundamental changes to the Australian Telecommunications sector
- - agree and oversee structural separation arrangements in regard to the former monopoly incumbent and current major market player (Telstra).
- • Investigation of telecommunications specific anti-competitive conduct and assist ACCC Enforcement Division in consumer protection investigations and litigation