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Telecommunications access disputes

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Media release 17 December 1998

Telecommunications access disputes

Two telecommunications companies have notified the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of access disputes under Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

AAPT Ltd has notified of a dispute relating to the price paid by AAPT Ltd for access to the Public Switched Telephone Network ('PSTN') operated by Telstra Corporation Limited.

Cable & Wireless Optus Limited has notified the ACCC of four access disputes. The disputes relate to the charges and charging terms applicable to Cable & Wireless Optus Limited subsidiaries - Optus Networks Pty Limited and Optus Mobile Pty Limited - in the provision of domestic PSTN originating and terminating access by Telstra Corporation Limited.

Accordingly, the ACCC has begun the arbitration processes.

As the legislation contemplates that arbitrations be conducted in private, the ACCC will not be making any public comment at this stage.



The ACCC is vested with arbitration powers enabling it to make directions and 'do all things necessary for the speedy hearing and determination of an access dispute'.

Where a dispute cannot be resolved after private negotiations, mediation and/or conciliation, either of the access parties may refer the matter to the ACCC. Arbitration by the ACCC would be considered as a final solution for the parties in dispute. Where the ACCC is notified of an access dispute the ACCC must determine the matter, unless it decides to terminate the arbitration or the notification is otherwise withdrawn. 07/01/1999