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ACCC Preps New Probe On Comms Industry Issues

ACCC Preps New Probe On Comms Industry Issues

Australia’s communications industry is to be the subject of a searching new inquiry conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The inquiry will examine a wide range of issues concerning competition and efficiency in communications markets and will involve consultation with industry participants and consumers, ACCC chairman Rod Sims has announced.

“The study will examine the changing landscape and identify any issues preventing the use of innovation and investment to deliver the benefits of competition to consumers,” Sims said in a media statement.  Issues he plans to examine include:

– The changing structure of Australia’s communications markets, particularly the transition to a fixed-line market in which NBN Co is the wholesale provider to retail service providers, and growing market concentration within the retail sector;

– The growth of ‘over the top’ (OTT) services that use the Internet as a delivery platform, including social network platforms, communications and marketplace apps; and

– The exponential growth in demand for bandwidth and data in recent years, largely reflecting the emergence of streaming music and video content services, placing significant demands on network capacity.

The market study will consider how these and other changes affect competition; the efficient operation of markets; and investment incentives, Sims added.

ACCC will open matters with publication of an issues paper and will release a draft of its findings for comment before completing the market study in 2017.

Sims said the study will not examine issues which are already the subject of inquiries into communication issues, including a Productivity Commission inquiry into the future direction of the Universal Service Obligation.

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