Telecommunications Building Access Roundtable
Spectrum Allocation
GST on Pre-Paid Phone Cards
Price Control Arrangements Reviewed
New Industry Codes
New Licensed Carriers


Telecommunications Building Access Roundtable

On October 16 2000 the government announced the establishment of a new Telecommunications Building Access Roundtable in Sydney. It will be made up of telecommunications carriers, the Property Council of Australia, building owners, telecommunications user groups and tenants. It is intended that the roundtable will help resolve emerging building access issues created by new telecommunications carriers seeking access to space in buildings that have housed only one or two carriers in the past. The roundtable is an industry initiative that will expedite the provision of telecommunications services to tenants of high-rise buildings.

Spectrum Allocation

In September 2000 the government announced applications were being sought for the auction of spectrum licences in the 27 gigahertz band. Applications closed on October 25 2000. The auction of this band of spectrum provides more opportunities for the introduction of broadband radiocommunications services capable of carrying telephony, data, pay television, internet access and video teleconferencing.

GST on Pre-Paid Telephone Cards

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has moved to ensure that retailers refund any goods and services tax (GST) that has been charged to customers on the sale of pre-paid telephone cards. The face value of the cards represents a GST-inclusive price and the underlying call charges have been adjusted to reflect any GST liability. Complaints to the commission have revealed that some customers have been charged GST twice: once on the purchase of the card and once again when a call is made. Some carriers have indicated to the commission that they will now indicate that the price of the cards is GST inclusive.

Price Control Arrangements Reviewed

The minister for communications, information technology and the arts has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct a review into the price control arrangements applicable to Telstra that are administered by the commission. The existing price control arrangements expire on June 30 2001. The commission must hold a public inquiry to determine whether the arrangements should continue beyond this time. If it finds that there is a need for such controls beyond this time, it must outline what form it believes such arrangements should take.

New Industry Codes

The Australian Communications Authority has registered two additional industry codes developed by the Australian Communications Industry Forum. The first of these is the Complaint Handling Industry Code. It seeks to establish an industry-wide comprehensive process for dealing with customer complaints and is intended to provide an additional level of consumer protection.

The second code is titled Customer Information on Prices, Terms and Conditions. It has been developed to provide a minimum set of standards for suppliers to meet when providing information to customers about the prices, terms and conditions of the products on offer.

New Licensed Carriers

In the period since April 2000 the government has issued 12 new carrier licences, bringing the total number of licensed carriers to 50. The new licensed carriers are:

  • Broadband Access Pty Ltd;

  • Central Exchange Limited;

  • Request DSL Pty Ltd;

  • AirNet Commercial Australia Pty Ltd;

  • Opentec Pty Limited;

  • XYZed Pty Ltd;

  • Netcare Telecommunications Pty Ltd;

  • ARBT Pty Ltd;

  • Cable and Telephone Limited;

  • Transact Capital Communications Pty Limited;

  • Nextgen Networks Pty Limited; and

  • AMX Communications Pty Ltd.


For further information on this topic please contact Claudine Tinellis at Blake Dawson Waldron by telephone (+61 2 9258 6942) or by fax (+61 2 9258 6999) or by e-mail ([email protected]).


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