Only hours after the news has been broken on the ACCC action taken against them, Telstra has hit back claiming the move was unnecessary and a transparent attempt to pave the way for further legislative shackles on the telecommunications provider.

Telstra’s group managing director public policy and communications, David Quilty, has fired back at the ACCC claiming that it was a complete waste of court time and taxpayer money.

“The ACCC is suing us for something we proactively and voluntarily reviewed and fixed a year ago. This case relates to a small number of inadvertent process issues. There was an issue and we fixed it – without the involvement of the ACCC. Since we fixed the problem a year ago, the ACCC has not once suggested it had problems with our new processes,” said Quilty.

Telstra claim that there has been tremendous growth in the number of access seekers to Telstra exchanges, and Telstra has accommodated and heavily subsidised these competitors.

“To Telstra’s knowledge, no issues have been identified by the ACCC under Telstra’s current process,” he said.

Quilty expressed his concern over the motivations for the ACCC action, “the ACCC has consistently campaigned for greater powers to meddle in the telecommunications industry”.

“Taking court action a year after the issue was resolved is a clear demonstration of what is wrong with the current regime and the way it is administered,” Quilty said.

At the beginning of 2008, in response to industry concerns, Telstra proactively reviewed its processes for determining when an exchange building was full and hence unavailable for competitors to install their equipment.

Telstra has more than 5000 exchanges. Originally, 76 were listed as full. As a result of the review, new processes were put in place and 24 exchanges were immediately removed from the list, while 24 others were listed as potentially capped, leaving less than 1 per cent of exchanges categorised as full.

Telstra is evidently very upset about the recent action and Quilty further expressed that the company thoroughly checks its processes.

“You have a situation where a company proactively checks its processes, finds minor and inadvertent errors, immediately rectifies the problem but is hounded through the courts regardless.”