Nov 15, 2012

Revamp content regulation or risk monopoly, report warns

A new report suggests content access is too important to be left to standard competition regulation. The competition regulator has been warned to act.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australia risks a return to the era of telecommunications monopoly if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission isn’t empowered to specifically deal with exclusive content deals, a report released yesterday for the Competitive Carriers’ Coalition has found.

Content exclusivity is emerging as the most problematic competition issue in the digital era. The ACCC only approved Foxtel’s recent merger with Austar after it committed to a series of (relatively weak) undertakings about exclusivity. The concern is, as the report by Scott Minehane and Simon Molly for the CCC demonstrates, exclusive access to premium content will be used by larger telcos — read Telstra — to crush competitors in telecommunications and broadband markets through bundled services. The CCC is a coalition of smaller communications providers.

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