As reported in the September edition of LegalBytes, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is undertaking a market study into the Australian communications sector, focusing on competition and efficiency. On 5 September 2016, the ACCC released an issues paper inviting submissions on various areas of importance to the sector, including:

  • Emerging services (including over-the-top services) - developments in relation to the internet as a delivery platform, including the responses of internet service providers and network operators to these developments, and whether there are consequential competition or efficiency implications for communications markets.
  • Fixed-line, mobile voice and broadband services - how retail competition over the National Broadband Network (NBN) is developing, the effect of economies of scale and other potential barriers to entry for smaller players, and how NBN wholesale products and pricing affect competition and innovation.
  • Interaction between fixed-line and mobile services - including the current state of substitution between fixed-line and mobile voice and broadband services, how this may change in the future, and possible implications.
  • Core and transmission networks and services - assessing the markets for intermediate inputs in the communications sector, including internet interconnection, access to dark fibre and domestic and international transmission. The market study will also consider whether access to these inputs by new entrants and smaller service providers is available on competitive terms.

The ACCC has scheduled the release of a draft report in July/August 2017 and the release of a final report in November 2017. The issues paper can be accessed here. Submissions were due on 14 October 2016 and can be made via the ACCC's online Consultation Hub or by emailing [email protected].