ACCC well placed to deal with communications revolution

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is well placed to deal with the many issues flowing from the continuing communications industry revolution, Chairman Rod Sims said.

In a speech to the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce in Brisbane, Mr Sims said Australia is fortunate that the ACCC is the combined competition, consumer and communications economic regulator.

“Different organisations with different roles would clearly trip over each other as they sought to regulate their part of the communications industry.”

Mr Sims confirmed that, after a long journey, Australia now has a strong telecommunications regulatory regime.

The Chairman also named several communications areas being closely monitored by the ACCC. These include consumer issues relating to the NBN, competition issues that can flow from how ISPs manage congestion, the issue of control of content, and how technology can affect other sectors in general.

“The ACCC needs to constantly scan the environment to identify future issues, and to weigh up whether or not to intervene.

“It’s a fine balance between giving markets sufficient time to work issues out…but not so much time that markets fail.

“Given the amazing dynamics of the communications market, however, the ACCC has a bias to waiting to make sure the market cannot address an issue before we consider intervention,” Mr Sims said.

In discussing consumer issues relating to the NBN, Mr Sims said we are currently in the early stages of the largest single migration of infrastructure in the history of communications in Australia. “There are inevitably going to be issues and complications,” Mr Sims said.

The speech is available at