Former communications watchdog Rob Nicholls has been nominated to become the first Independent Telecommunications Adjudicator.
The ITA, established last month as a provision of Telstra's structural separation, will oversee dispute resolution between the telco and its wholesale customers over price and service level equivalence to BigPond.
The adjudicator has remained a sticking point among Telstra's competitors, leading the Federal Government to legislatively mandate the adjudicator's independence from Telstra.
The ACCC approved a constitution for the adjudicator last month, allowing the new body to seek and nominate someone for the role.
ITA chairman Mark Hall said in a letter to the watchdog last week that Nicholls would "provide the industry with confidence" that the adjudicator would act independently from Telstra.
Nicholls is believed to have been chosen for nomination by the ITA Co from a shortlist of candidates discussed with industry. The ACCC had already begun discussing his potential appointment with wholesale customers.
Once a telco engineer, Nicholls is currently a principal advisor to law firm Webb Henderson's consultancy arm and has held numerous roles in the telco industry including Optus product manager, and, most relevantly, a general manager of the ACCC's communications arm between 2010 and 2011.
"We believe that he brings the right mix of technical skills, industry knowledge and commercial and regulatory experience to the role," Hall said.
"Mr Nicholls has a deep understanding of the telecommunications industry and is well known to many of its stakeholders."
Should he be approved for the role, Nicholls told CRN sister site iTnews from Singapore that he would be in a part-time position and would retain his role at Webb Henderson.
"Clearly I can't do work for people in the telco sector in Australia, which changes the scope of the work I do there," he said.
He said he would be "very pleased" to take up the post, if approved by the ACCC.
A successful adjudicator would be bound by a charter of independence from Telstra, its wholesale customers, NBN Co, the ACCC and governments under a two-year term.
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Issue: 324 | February 2014
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