Australia: Ex-ACCC chief slams broadband monopoly protections

A former chief of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has slammed the current regime’s decision to grant monopoly protections for the national broadband network as the preferred wholesale network.

Reports say Graeme Samuel, who lead the ACCC from 2003 to 2011, argues that the NBN should not have been granted these privileges that it enjoys under telecommunications law. The protections, proponents of the law say, are necessary to ensure sufficient funding for infrastructure.

”Anticompetitive legislation or exemptions from the processes of the competition law ought not to take place unless it could be demonstrated with a very vigorous, independent and objective analysis that the public benefit is best-served,” Samuel said. “It didn’t take place here.”

The remarks mirror early comments made by former ACCC chief Allan Feels, who said in an interview that the protections given to the NBN is “the biggest anticompetitive arrangement ever in Australia.”

Full content: Financial Review

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