Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement: Fact sheets

Telecommunications

Summary

This chapter builds on WTO rules in relation to major suppliers of telecommunications that control essential facilities or have a dominant position in a market. The Parties must prevent anti-competitive conduct and ensure that major suppliers provide interconnection, resale of services, leased circuit services and co-location of equipment on reasonable, non-discriminatory terms and conditions.

There are strong provisions on transparency and review for regulatory decisions. Regulators must be independent and impartial and properly explain decisions, such as determining which services are subject to regulation and licensing decisions. Australia and the United States have also embraced a hands-off regulatory approach where markets are functioning competitively.

There are two side letters. The first letter establishes regular consultation on issues and developments in the communications and IT sectors. This will give government and industry greater understanding of these dynamic sectors. The second letter outlined the Government's policy in relation to government ownership of Telstra.