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Telecom thumbs up to Govt discussion doc

09 Jul 2013

The government has today released a discussion document on possible changes to the Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO), with Telecom the first telco to welcome the move.

Announced by Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams, four broad options are outlined in the document for future TSO provisions, including the status quo remaining, as well as three options for change – minimal, medium and significant.

With a review scheduled to take place before the end of 2013, Adams says the telecommunications market has changed dramatically since the TSO was introduced in 2001.

“Improved competition and well-targeted supply side initiatives like the Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband programmes mean most consumers now have a wider choice of providers and services," Adams says.

“Given the changing telecommunication scene, I am now seeking public feedback on the extent to which the TSO should be modernised and reshaped to meet the current environment and likely future changes in the sector.”

In an immediate response to the release, Telecom has issued public support for a discussion document on possible changes to the framework.

"We support the proposed review of the TSO framework, and believe that it is timely to assess whether there is a continuing need for a TSO in all parts of the country," a company statement read.

"We believe the current copper-based TSO should be updated to allow TSO services to be delivered over other available technologies such as mobile and fibre.

"The telecommunications landscape has changed enormously in recent years, driven by extended take-up and coverage of fixed and mobile access networks.

"It makes sense for regulation to better reflect this new technological landscape.

"Telecom recognises the critical role that fixed line telecommunications services play in keeping New Zealanders connected and is proud to be the TSO provider of residential access services to New Zealand.

"We are committed to continuing to provide essential telecommunications services to communities and businesses across New Zealand.

"We will respond to the discussion paper and look forward to further development of the Government’s TSO policy."

The full discussion document and a summary version are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at: www.med.govt.nz/tsoreview.

Submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday 20 August 2013.

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