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Federal Government Announces Telecommunications Industry Inquiry

The Australian Productivity Commission is to review competition regulation in the national telecommunications industry, the Australian Federal Government announced today.

The proposed review will deal with anti-competitive behaviour in the sector, and examine interconnection and access, carrier service pre-selection and number portability.

Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said the Productivity Commission review would be held according to the requirements of the Trade Practices Act, with a report due within 12 months.

"The government is committed to facilitating the ongoing development of an effective and competitive telecommunications framework,'' said Costello.

"Accordingly, the Government has widened the scope of the review to cover other aspects of the telecommunications specific competition regime.''

But Costello urged the commission not to look into the Telstra privatisation issue, saying that deregulation of the telecommunications sector had already delivered significant benefits to Australia, bringing more players and lower prices.

"The Productivity Commission review will assist in identifying whether the regulatory regime is working as effectively as possible and that the benefits of competition regulation are being delivered to customers,'' he said.