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NZ Government gets behind digital tech with new telco laws

By Catherine Knowles
Thu 14 Apr 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The New Zealand Government’s Telco Review has set a new direction for regulating broadband and phone services in this country.

Amy Adams, Communications Minister, announced a series of high-level policy decisions on the future regulation of the telecommunications sector.

She says, “Digital technologies are transforming the way New Zealanders live, work and do business. To help reach our 2025 broadband target and to keep our economy growing, we need the right laws in place to make sure high quality and affordable communication services are available for consumers and businesses."

“The communications sector is vastly different to the market in 2001 when the Telecommunications Act was introduced, and it’s time for our laws to catch up,” she says. 

From 2020, the Government will move to a framework for regulating copper and fibre services that is similar to the one used for utilities like electricity lines. This move will deliver the stability needed to support investment in high quality and affordable communications services for New Zealanders, Adams says.

Key decisions include:

  • Moving to a utility-style model (with ‘building blocks’ pricing) for regulating wholesale services on the copper and UFB networks
  • Considering ways to better support competition in the mobile market
  • Retaining the current ‘unbundling’ requirements to promote innovation on the UFB network from 2020
  • Ruling out any changes to the regulation of broadcasting infrastructure.

“The Government is making changes now to ensure there’s a sound system in place after 2019. Changes to the regulation of fixed-line networks will provide investors with certainty and ensure consumers are protected once the UFB build contracts expire,” says Adams.

Adams says the Government had ruled out making any changes to the regulation of broadcasting infrastructure.

“Consumers have access to an ever increasing selection of entertainment content online and through traditional television. Digital convergence means the broadcasting sector is facing more competition than ever at both the retail and network level, so doesn’t warrant any regulatory intervention at this stage,” says Adams.

“These high-level policy decisions build on the discussion document ‘Regulating Communications for the Future’ released last year as part of the Convergence work programme. In coming months, we will continue the conversation with an options paper on the detailed design and implementation of the new framework," she says.

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