Media Release: Telecommunications Review announcements provides a number of wins for users but more work remains to be done

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1st June 2017

Today the Government announced the latest decisions from the review of the current Telecommunications Act that has been underway for the last few years.  “ We have been active in ensuring that our members views were well represented throughout the process and Based on our initial viewing of the latest release, it is pleasing to see several of our proposals taken up by the review.” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.

Today’s package confirms most of the details around the post 2020 regulatory environment for fixed lines services.  While the basis of it remains significantly unchanged since previous announcements, there are a number of changes where some of TUANZ concerns have been considered.  “We are pleased to see that while it does not fully address our concern that the that the 100 Mbs download product will be superseded by faster service even as early as 2020, its is an improvement to see that the anchor product that will be price capped for fibre services has now been defined as an entry level product rather than the most popular.” said Mr Young.

TUANZ does remain concerned over the de-regulation of copper services inside UFB areas, but will work with the Commerce Commission on ensuring there are strong consumer protections within any customer migration codes put in place post the de-regulation.  Rural users will be relying on the copper network for many years to come and so regulation of price and quality of that network as well as the protections under the TSO will remain incredibly important.

“We have been consistently calling for an independent review of the mobile market to ensure that it is delivering internationally competitive services to New Zealanders, and it is pleasing to see the announcement that the Minister will provide a recommendation to the Commerce Commission that they undertake such a study, albeit of the wholesale part of the market” said Mr Young. TUANZ will also write to the Commission to support the Minister’s proposal and requesting that the review is comprehensive given the increased dependence on mobile and fixed wireless services particularly in rural New Zealand

There are also good wins for users of telecommunications where the powers that the Commerce Commision has around consumer service and consumer disputes will be strengthened.  Decisions requiring the Commission to regularly review any disputes process based on the sections of the Act that outline the objectives of a disputes process are welcomed and the industry should take note of those in ensuring their processes continue to improve.

However, there remains significant work that still needs to be undertaken as well as more detail that needs to be developed in the substantive parts of the proposal.  There are other changes made that need to be considered such as the impact of removing the restrictions on Chorus relating to layer 2 and end to end services.  TUANZ  will continue to speak out as the independent voice of users of ICT&T and represent members by engaging with parliament as the review proceeds and the Commerce Commission subsequently commences their work.

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