Telecom wins Lloyd battle

A second complaint against Telecom - this one alleging anti-competitive behaviour - has been rejected by the Commerce Commission. But the complainant, Hamilton ISP Lloyd Group, says it will take further action.

A second complaint against Telecom – this one alleging anti-competitive behaviour – has been rejected by the Commerce Commission. But the complainant, Hamilton ISP Lloyd Group, says it will take further action against the telco.

The Lloyd Group complaint was laid in August last year and related to the ISP's attempt to offer digital subsciber line (DSL) services using the Telecom network. In July the commission released findings which said the matter was to be terminated and no further action would be taken.

“My biggest complaint is that they didn’t answer the argument we put forward,” says the ISP's co-director, Lloyd Gallagher. The Lloyd Group claimed it was stopped by Telecom from using A1 circuits for its service on the basis that such circuits are only usable for voice.

“They are a standard circuit designed for data — it says so in the TLOC,” says Gallagher, referring to the Telecom list of charges. He says there is no problem with these circuits carrying data, and that Telecom is using that as an excuse to avoid having a competitor offer a service Telecom at the time couldn’t provide.

The commission's chief investigator, Mark Dingle, says nobody is disputing whether the circuits can carry data, but that the problem lies with the MVL (multiple virtual lines – a DSL variant) equipment the Lloyd Group wants to use.

The equipment does not covered by an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard, and Telecom is concerned it would have the potential to cause interference on the network.

“The [Federal Communications Commission] FCC has granted a temporary waiver in the US for field trials, not for commercial use,” says Dingle. That is probably not enough, he says, for Telecom to consider allowing the hardware to be attached to its network.

“That’s not an abuse of its dominant position.”

Telecom spokesman Glen Sowry says the decision not to allow the Lloyd Group to connect its equipment to the network was made for the best of reasons.

"There's a good reason for telepermits and that's to reduce the risk of interference on the network that might impact on other customers." Sowry says the Lloyd Group is more than welcome to apply for a telepermit for the equipment.

"If they wish to put it through the process and it passes then we'll look at taking it to the next step."

Gallagher says he will be filing a new complaint with the commission as well as making a submission to the telecommunications inquiry on the matter.

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