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ComCom seeks feedback on broadband performance programme

By Shannon Williams
Thu 24 Feb 2022

The Commerce Commission is inviting feedback on enhancements to its Measuring Broadband New Zealand (MBNZ) programme.

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said that, since it was launched in 2018, the current Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme has given consumers important information on the performance of different technologies, providers and plans to help inform their purchasing decisions.

"Independent comparisons are important for consumers and need to stay on top of developments in a rapidly changing market," he says Gilbertson.

According to Gilbertson, the Commission has identified two key opportunities for improving the programme. One is including more technologies, providers and plans in the programme, so that it better reflects the range of choice available in the market. 

The other, he says, is expanding the programme, beyond speeds, to include monitoring and reporting of in-home Wi-Fi performance.

"Capturing new technologies like 5G and satellite broadband, including smaller providers and plans, and measuring in-home Wi-Fi performance will provide a richer source of information for consumers," Gilbertson explains.

Gilbertson says that, in addition to helping consumers compare the performance of broadband technologies, providers and plans, the Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme is also a useful tool for providers to see how they compare against their competitors, and to identify and fix performance issues.

"Shining a light on performance encourages providers to compete against each other on quality as well as price for the benefit of consumers," he says.

Feedback from industry stakeholder and consumers will help inform the Commissions procurement of an independent testing provider for the delivery of the MBNZ programme.

The MBNZ consultation paper is available on the Commissions website. Submissions close 16 March 2022.

In other Commerce Commission news, last month the organisation opened public submissions on the likely competitive effects of the proposed merger between 2degrees and Vocus.

The proposed transaction involves a newly incorporated Vocus Group company, Voyage Digital (NZ) Limited, acquiring all of the shares of Orcon Holdings Limited - formerly known as Vocus (New Zealand) Holdings Limited - and then acquiring all of the shares in Two Degrees Group Limited from its shareholders, Trilogy International New Zealand LLC and Tesbrit B.V.

The Commission has published a statement of preliminary issues on the proposed merger, outlining the key competition issues that the Commission considers necessary in deciding whether to grant clearance to the proposed merger.

The Commission says it will give clearance to a proposed merger if it is satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

Submissions on the proposed merger closed 15 February. The Commerce Commission is currently scheduled to decide on the application next month, by 15 March 2022. However, this date may be extended as the investigation progresses.

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