Lobby groups push for changes to Telecomms Amendment Bill

Tuanz, Federated Farmers and InternetNZ want regulatory forbearance provision altered

InternetNZ, Federated Farmers and TUANZ have written to the chairman of Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee, Craig Foss, proposing major changes to the Telecommunications Amendment Bill.

They urge the committee, which held hearings into the Bill last week, to amend the legislation to replace the regulatory forbearance period with what they term a more stable, special access undertakings regime as is the case in Australia.

They also want undertakings that will apply to fibre providers to be strengthened, to require the same equivalence of inputs standard as is required today for copper.

The letter reads: “In dealing with structural separation, we urge the committee to amend the legislation to:

Give the Minister control of the shape of the asset allocation plan, service-sharing arrangements and separation undertakings (not leave these to Telecom);

Add a requirement for handling systems and data;

Retain the current Telecom separation undertakings, except where change is justified based on principles in the proposed legislation, including the purpose statement relating to separation;

Mandate public and commission consultation on the above matters before final plans are agree;

Add horizontal line of business restrictions which would apply to Chorus 2.”

The three organisations also want the legislation amended to omit the proposed Commerce Act clearances for both the Rural Broadband Initiative and the Ultra-fast Broadband Initiative.

The letter is signed by InternetNZ chief executive Vikram Kumar, Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English, and TUANZ chief executive Paul Brislen.

Yesterday in Parliament, Labour’s Clare Curran asked the Communications Minister, Steven Joyce, by what date 75 percent of New Zealanders would receive ultra-fast broadband.

Joyce responded that it was the Government’s intention that this would happen by 2019.

Curran referred to submissions by InternetNZ and the Commerce Commission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee that the cost of copper-based broadband services would increase by 20 percent as a result of the legislation.

Joyce said he thought this highly unlikely because of the competitive effects of the fibre-to-the-home package.

He confirmed that the averaging of unbundled copper local loop would be required because rural subscribers would otherwise be potentially stranded on the copper network.

“Averaging the unbundled copper local loop is the only practical way of dealing with this situation.”

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Tags internetnzSteven JoyceTUANZfederated farmersclare curran

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