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Telstra demands independent umpire for telecoms cost model

Voice&Data staff

Telstra has called on the ACCC to relinquish its telecommunications cost modelling work to an independent party, to be chosen by the Minister for Broadband.

The telco made the call in response to the ACCC’s request for public comment on its new model for regulated fixed network services.

The model can estimate a price for access to Telstra's copper wire network by infrastructure-based service providers to supply broadband and voice services. It can also estimate prices for resellers of Telstra's wholesale voice services.

David Quilty, Telstra’s Group Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications, said Telstra had spent more than $2 million developing its own cost model and would hand over its work to the selected independent expert for assessment.

“We are confident our model would stand up to expert scrutiny. For a decade, Telstra, the rest of the industry and the ACCC have been in dispute over the costs of the underlying fixed network,” he said.

Quilty also called into question the objectivity of the ACCC’s proposed model.

“Unless [an independent assessor is involved] no one will have faith in the accuracy of the outcome and there will always be question marks over the appropriateness of any regulated price.”

Interested parties have until 5 pm, 20 February 2009 to comment on the ACCC’s model. More information on the model is available at

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www.accc.gov.au.