New carriers and service providers increase competition between existing suppliers and help increase consumer choice. While there is now an increased reliance on self-regulation, a safety net of formal regulation has been created in the form of the Australian Communications Authority (ACA). The ACA, along with Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is responsible for administering the telecommunications industry and the radio communications community under legislation passed in March 1999.
More information about the Australian Communications Authority can be found at the following web site: http://www.aca.gov.au.
There are three main types of businesses in the telecommunications service industry, namely licensed communications carriers, Internet service providers and other businesses that perform some other form of telecommunication service.
Between 1 July 1997 and 30 June 2002, there were 100 licences issued in Australia for carriers of telecommunications services. However Telstra, Optus and Vodafone dominate the telecommunications industry.
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS (ISPs)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are individuals or businesses offering Internet access services to customers.
At the end of September 2003, there were 24 ISPs operating in Tasmania supplying Internet access to 107,000 active subscribers. At June 1997, there were 5 ISPs operating in Tasmania (source: Internet Activity, Australia, cat. no. 8153.0).
OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS
Service providers use telecommunications capacity acquired from a carrier such as Telstra, Optus or Vodafone to supply a range of local and national communications services to consumer and commercial markets. Service providers operate by purchasing network capacity from carriers at discounted rates. This allows them to provide similar or value-added services to consumers at competitive prices. These include:
- data and value-added services
- other telecommunication services.