Telstra, Australia’s top telecom service provider, found itself embroiled in yet another dispute with Australia’s government, as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched antitrust proceedings against Telstra for its alleged refusal to grant rivals access to its network. The ACCC lawsuit comes in the wake of the government’s recent decision to exclude Telstra from the bidding process for a multibillion dollar nationwide broadband network license, the winner of which is expected to be announced next month. According to the ACCC suit, Telstra refused competitive requests for network access at seven key metropolitan exchanges in violation of Australia’s Trade Practices Act and Telecommunications Act. Although Telstra contends that the exchanges in question were “capped” (meaning there was no capacity available on main distribution frames for rivals to connect their equipment to the Telstra network), the ACCC told the court that, in some cases, there was enough capacity available for Telstra to provide the requested connections. Accusing Telstra of “misleading and deceptive” trade practices, the ACCC suit seeks unspecified financial penalties and injunctions against the company. In reply, Telstra group managing director David Quilty declared that the ACCC “is suing us for something we proactively and voluntarily fixed a year ago,” as he noted that the company has changed its process for determining whether an exchange is full and has accordingly reduced its list of capped exchanges by 24. A directions hearing is scheduled to commence on April 17 before a federal court in Melbourne.