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InternetNZ welcomes govt's Telco Act Review

By Shannon Williams
Fri 10 Feb 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

InternetNZ is applauding the Government’s announcement this week that it is looking into broadband prices, saying the Telco Act Review is on the right track.

The organisation says it is particularly pleased with the focus on fibre broadband.

"InternetNZ welcomes the Government’s announcement today on future broadband regulation. We think it will deliver the fair broadband prices Kiwis deserve," explains Jordan Carter, InternetNZ chief executive.

"We will apply a magnifying glass to the details to make sure that fair prices for broadband are a reality after 2020,” he says.

“We’ll give feedback to the Government with that goal in mind.”

Carter says it is ‘vitally’ important the process is done right the first time.

"Today’s announcement shows that things are on the right track, but there’s still some important points of detail to iron out,” he explains.

"We will spend the next few days digesting the details and speaking with the sector. We will also offer thoughts back to the Government in response to their call for submissions," Carter adds.

Carter says InternetNZ is particularly welcoming the clear focus on fibre broadband, and not complicating that framework by trying to ‘shoehorn’ copper regulation into the same regulatory approach.

“Chorus will face a clear regulatory framework from the start, and Kiwi broadband users can be confident that there will be controls on the company from 1 January 2020,” he explains.

Carter says it makes sense that there is a lesser obligation on the other fibre network providers.

“They will face competition from Chorus and so information disclosure obligations are the right place to start,” he says.

“On the other hand, we are disappointed by the proposal that the main fibre network anchor product be set at 100/20mbps. This is behind the market today,” says Carter.

“By 2020, it will be even more so, and will be too slow to fulfil the anchoring role it is designed to do.”

On first reading, Carter says the approach to copper also makes sense.

“It’s a new approach compared with what the Government detailed last year, and we’ll talk to all those affected to better understand the implications,” he explains.

“Retaining a simple price cap on key services outside the UFB area is better than re-doing the painstaking work the Commerce Commission did in 2014-15,” adds Carter.

“That said, the withdrawal of copper regulation inside the Local Fibre Companies coverage areas, it could mean that companies that have invested alongside Chorus in unbundled networks face a cloudy future,” he says.

“We’re pleased that MBIE has listened to the feedback received and heard that New Zealanders think we can do better than copper, but we need to do more thinking about the impact on existing providers of copper services.”

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