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Aussie regulator forces Telstra to cut access charge

Strewth mate, what about the dividends?

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Telstra has taken a slap from the Aussie competition regulator and been told to cut access fees for a rival operator using its network.

Reports over the weekend suggested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would force the incumbent to cut its access fees for one rival to AUS$17.70, or around $14. Telstra's most recent financial forecast was based on an AUS$22 charge, meaning shareholders could take a hit on any cut in access charges.

Telstra confirmed the reports this morning, noting that the ruling only applied to one low volume wholesale customer, and was an interim ruling.

But it admitted that the ACCC “may now follow this Interim Determination with other Interim Determinations in respect of other ULLS Access Disputes.”

Or put another way, access fees could be marked down across the board.

The move is the latest blow for Telstra, ahead of a government decision on whether to unload its remaining majority stake in the telco.

Earlier this month it scrapped plans for a new fibre network and bemoaned regulators’ lack of understanding of “the actual costs that Telstra incurs in providing its services and, especially, the costs it incurs in providing services to rural, regional, and remote Australia.”®

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