If you read about functional separation on this website, then you have a very solid understanding on one of the most important regulatory tools for enabling competition in telecommunications. The UK and New Zealand have successfully implemented functional separation on their incumbent operators. Australia is very close on their heels.

From a CommsDay report, we learn:

In Australia, the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy has hired a BT director to provide a $60,000 consultancy on functional separation.

These developments have been followed closely on this site. Some information on the qualifications of the person contracted for the consultancy:

McCarthy-Ward was formerly the “equivalence” director of the team that implemented the company’s “functional separation” between 2004 and 2008 and is currently contracted as one of BT’s nine regional directors in the United Kingdom…

British Telecom was the first to put in place functional separation and equivalence measures. Their experience has paved the way for other countries to follow suit.

First-hand comments on the benefits of competition:

McCarthy-Ward said BT Retail has actually increased its sales performance subsequent to separation although he acknowledged a STG135m cost in implementing the changes. “It is worth saying that one of the reasons that performance has improved was that the corollary of building a very robust and satisfactory wholesale regime was that our regulator felt able to deregulate retail prices, and from that flowed some advantages to our retail business in terms of the flexibility and freedom that they had in pricing.

Our regulator in Fiji has to be schooled quickly on the necessity for this legislation. Without it, Fiji is unlikely to see real benefits from sector liberalisation. Until they  do understand the importance of this issue, FINTEL will have no incentive to change its anti-competitive behaviors.

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