The ACCC said it approved the nomination after conducting targeted consultation with industry, and that Telstra's wholesale customers had expressed support for Nicholls' appointment.
As the Adjudicator Nicholls will be able to make binding rulings in respect of the processes that Telstra must follow in allowing access to its network. This includes rulings regarding the processes by which end users will be migrated from Telstra's networks onto the National Broadband Network as it is built.
The ACCC said: "The appointment of Dr Nicholls is the final regulatory approval required for the commencement of the Independent Telecommunications Adjudicator process. The ACCC recently approved the two key documents underpinning the process, the Office of the ITA Limited Constitution and Charter of Independence. These documents provide a framework to ensure that the Adjudicator will act independently.
In a letter to the ACCC putting forward Nicholls, ITA Co chairman, Mark Hall, said: "Mr Nicholls has a deep understanding of the telecommunications industry and is well known to many of its stakeholders. He has performed numerous roles in the industry over many years, including more recently as a general manager in the ACCC's Communications Group where he worked closely with industry and had direct experience in investigating and making decisions about technical and economic matters.
"Accordingly, we believe that Mr Nicholls is a strong candidate for the ITA Adjudicator role and will provide the industry with confidence that the role of the ITA Adjudicator will be performed with independence and integrity."
According to Nicholls' profile on LinkedIn he is presently principal advisor and head of the consultancy arm of international law firm Webb Henderson, which specialises in the telecommunications and media sectors, and claims "a rare combination of extensive technical and regulatory experience, together with commercial, finance and analytical expertise."
He has "delivered regulatory strategy and implementation advice in Australia, Asia and North America to governments, national regulators, operators and vendors for nearly 30 years" and "provides in-depth technical, economic, policy and commercial advice for clients involved with the telecommunications and media sectors around the world."
He was with the ACCC from March 2010 to November 2011 and "looked after the competition regulation of three aspects of telecommunications: transmission and facilities access; spectrum and mobiles; broadcasting and content."
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