Telstra has been fined $18.55 million for denying competitors access to infrastructure, reported the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Telstra admitted to contravening the law by refusing access to other telecommunications providers in seven key metropolitan exchanges in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane for the connection of their broadband equipment. The companies had been told by Telstra that the main distribution frames had been capped, when in fact there was capacity or it could have been made available.

Justice Middleton said that Telstra had shown “no true remorse”, “nor an appreciation of the seriousness of the admitted contravention.” He noted that Telstra was in an overwhelming position of bargaining strength and “has control over its exchanges the power to allow or refuse access.”

He was critical of Telstra’s compliance policies. In the period from 2006 to 2008: ”Telstra took no steps to develop a culture of compliance with its access obligations under the Trade Practices Act and the Telecommunications,” he said.