This morning an announcement was made that Simon Bridges will introduce a Bill to Parliament today that intends to review the current regulatory framework of the telecommunications sector.
The Bill will introduce a utility regulation model for Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre and that deregulates copper lines where fibre is available and includes measures that will improve the quality of service for consumers by increasing regulatory oversight.
The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (Tuanz) has expressed its support of this ‘long awaited' introduction of the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill.
“Earlier this year we stated our support of many of the proposed changes when outlined in an options paper, and it's pleasing to see these make it to Parliament,” says Craig Young, chief executive of Tuanz.
“The contents of the bill will have important implications for consumers and businesses not only in the short term, but most importantly in the post 2020 world of digital communications”.
The Bill includes a number of changes aimed at improving the consumer service quality in New Zealand's telecommunications sector.
This includes requiring the Commerce Commission to regularly report on retail service quality in a more accessible way and to review the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Service regularly to ensure it is working effectively.
Young adds, “We are especially pleased to see our concerns around the ability of the Commerce Commission to respond to possible competition problems, as well as enhancing the Commission's powers around ensuring consumer retail service quality is maintained and improved are addressed in the Bill.
Pat O'Connell, chair of the Board of Tuanz, comments, “This is a significant bill that will take some time to review and as always there will be details that we will want to query at the appropriate time.
“As the unique organisation that represents the users of digital communications, our members believe that the voice of these users, both businesses and consumers, continue to be critically important in these matters and we will be fully involved as the bill makes its way through select committee in the next parliament.
“One element not addressed as a result of the review is the inequality of resourcing for consumer voice research and advocacy that exists in New Zealand when compared to other jurisdictions such as Australia.
“We are fortunate that today, as over the last 30 years, a significant number of New Zealand businesses and individuals have seen the importance of supporting such a voice through membership of our organisation.