Federal Court hands Telstra $18.5m fine

Telstra has been forced to pay $18.55 million to the Commonwealth as a result of limiting telephone exchange access to other Australian internet service providers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been engaged in an ongoing legal battle with Telstra over the “exchange capping,” which occurred on 27 occasions between July 2006 and April 2008.

The ACCC disputed that Telstra had believed their exchanges were full at the time, and Telstra had purposely blocked the exchanges to their competitors, contravening the Trade Practices Act.

Throughout the ongoing legal battle, Telstra had claimed the exchanges were full and there wasn’t enough room to service their own customers.

However, Telstra has now accepted the fine, and has released a statement to ZDNet Australia stating it will not appeal the case.

"Since the start of the case, we have acknowledged that mistakes were made. We accept the judgement which has been handed down. We will not be appealing," Telstra said.

Telstra has recently cut the cost of their broadband plans, offering new and existing customers higher data allowances. However, Telstra have not adjusted their wholesale pricing, which has lead to both Internode and iiNet lodging complaints with the ACCC.