DSL provider takes Telecom to Commerce Commission

A complaint has been filed with the Commerce Commission alleging Telecom is behaving anti-competitively in its dealings with the country's first digital subscriber line (DSL) service provider. Hamilton-based Lloyd Group, which has been offering a DSL service in the Auckland CBD since late last year, says it has complained to the competition watchdog alleging Telecom is not providing it with the circuits it needs.

A complaint has been filed with the Commerce Commission alleging Telecom is behaving anti-competitively in its dealings with the country's first digital subscriber line (DSL) service provider.

Hamilton-based Lloyd Group, which has been offering a DSL service in the Auckland CBD since late last year, says it has complained to the competition watchdog alleging Telecom is not providing it with the circuits it needs.

Commission spokesman Vincent Cholewa confirms it has received a complaint against Telecom claiming anti-competitive behaviour, but he won't name the complainant. The commission hasn't yet determined whether the complaint has substance and needs investigation, he says.

Lloyd Group co-founder Daniel Lee says the complaint was triggered by the com-pany's inability to obtain a circuit from Telecom that would allow it to provide DSL Internet access to a central city cybercafe, Livewire. According to Lee, the A1 analogue circuit provided by Telecom had 1+1 filtering applied to it so that it couldn't be used for data transmission.

"Any A1 circuit ordered by Lloyd Group is being governed by Telecom to limit it to 9.6Kbit/s," Lloyd claims. "Telecom is telling us A1 circuits are limited to 9600[bit/s] but we know that's not so. Until this is rectified, we're unable to deploy any MVL [a variant of DSL] services." He believes the company is being deliberately obstructed by Telecom, which is readying its own DSL service for a launch in the middle of the year.

Telecom spokesman Glenn Sowry confirms the A1 circuit which Lloyd Group is attempting to use for its DSL service is being filtered. Sowry says that's to ensure the circuit is only used for voice band services, as laid out in the standard Telecom contract for such circuits. "Telecom's access standards group has consistently stressed the requirement that only voice band frequencies be used on A1, A2 and A3 analogue leased circuits and, despite repeated warnings, Lloyd Group has continued to offer its high-speed data services over these same Telecom leased lines."

Voice band services operate between 300Hz and 3.4KHz. Sowry says technical specifications for the MVL equipment Lloyd Group is using shows it operates between 16KHz and 80KHz.

Sowry says a Federal Communications Commission ruling that MVL gear can be safely deployed in the phone network relates to the US and has little relevance to New Zealand, where the network is closer to European standards.

Sowry refutes Lee's claim that Lloyd Group is being singled out for the filtering treatment. "In the past few weeks other suppliers have been approached over the promotion of product offerings using the same types of analogue leased voice band circuits," he says.

Sowry says the equipment Lloyd Group is using for its DSL service has not been telepermitted. Lloyd Group says it is seeking a telepermit but no standard exists.

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