TPG uncharacteristically slams Telstra

  • Nation's 3rd largest ISP takes telco giant to task over wholesale pricing
  • Rural and regional customers shut out
  • Two companies in dispute "for many years"

TPG, Australia’s 3rd or 4th largest telco (depending on which statistic you use), has usually kept quiet when Telstra has made a move that upsets other competitors. But their latest public release to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) strongly criticizes the wholesaler for “creating unnecessary business constraints around the supply of the service”.

The document (available here) goes on to accuse Telstra of creating unnecessary technical barriers for competitive carriers to provide ADSL service to rural and regional customers, particularly for “Off-Net” services.

Backhaul frozen out

TPG maintains its own network in 391 exchanges, where they install their own DSLAM and handle their own backhaul via a wholly owned subsidiary, PIPE Networks (that is, carrying the traffic from the exchange and back to a submarine cable connecting Australia to the rest of the world). In areas outside of TPG’s network, the company will re-sell a Telstra connection at similar rates to what Telstra charges. The document submitted to the ACCC criticizes Telstra’s prohibition on allowing TPG to handle the backhaul traffic on its own network, and then charging exorbitant rates to use Telstra’s own backhaul to do so.

The move is uncharacteristic for TPG, which typically remains silent when Internode, iiNet or Optus have taken Telstra to task for uncompetitive practices. While this silence has usually been attributed to favourable conditions between Telstra and TPG, the complaint reveals that the two companies have been locked in disputes over these issues "for many years".