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

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are pleased to see that while it does not fully address our concern that the that the 100 Mbs download product will be superseded by faster service even as early as 2020, its is an improvement to see that the anchor product that will be price capped for fibre services has now been defined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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TUANZ Media Release: TUANZ welcomes the future extension of fibre availability to another 10% of New Zealand’s population

26 January 2017

TUANZ welcomes today’s long awaited announcement around the extension of the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme beyond the current 75% of population coverage.

“As the only independent organisation representing the users of digital technology, we have long advocated for fibre based services to be available to as many New Zealander’s as possible, and so we are pleased to see today’s announcement of the UFB2 contracts”, said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ. “We welcomed the initial announcement of a proposed extension during the 2014 election campaign and while the fulfilment of that promise has taken some time, are happy to see that the target has been surpassed and aims to reach 85% of New Zealanders by 2024.”

Today’s announcement is welcome because it continues to reduce the copper gap that exists for the people who were originally left out of the UFB project by extending the programme to another 151 towns. “We are also pleased to see the inclusion of several areas on the fringe of the current cities that were also left out of the original plans” Mr Young said.

TUANZ continues to push for better quality connectivity for all New Zealander’s and will not let up on representing users to ensure the remaining 15% of residents and businesses, get access to fibre-equivalent services in the same timeframe. “Rural New Zealand deserves the same quality services as their urban cousins not only for lifestyle reasons, but because a vast amount of New Zealand’s economic innovation and prosperity comes from farms and businesses located within that last 15%” said Mr Young.

TUANZ will again this year in May host in partnership with the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand, the Rural Connectivity Symposium. “In an election year, hearing from the political parties their goals around investment in this critical area, as well as sharing rural users perspective will be incredibly important to ensure the understanding that the need for continued improvement has not stopped with this announcement.”

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TUANZ Media Release: Motu report misses the point, says TUANZ

15 December 2016

The recent report into the impact of broadband on productivity gains produced by researchers Motu misses the point, says TUANZ.

Motu’s report focuses on companies signing up for UFB between 2010 and 2014 – a period of fast growth in UFB uptake which saw usage more than doubled to 22% of all private sector firms with more than six employees.

However Motu has concluded that there is no gain in terms of productivity for those companies at all during the study period.

With respect, we feel Motu has studied the wrong companies at the wrong time and come to the wrong conclusion.

TUANZ CEO Craig Young says the real benefits of Ultra Fast Broadband won’t be seen in those companies that already had access to fibre services, but more likely in the vast number of Small to Medium Enterprise companies that are the true beneficiaries of the UFB project.

“Larger companies have had fibre for years. They tend to have already made the jump to faster broadband and they also tend to have their own IT infrastructure and services, so any benefit they see has already accrued by this point in time. Those companies signing up for UFB were more likely doing so to achieve a cost reduction in terms of broadband pricing, not productivity gains.”

Those SME companies that sign up for UFB are more likely to see a boost in terms of productivity, but only once they put UFB to work, not simply because they’ve signed up for UFB.

“Companies will take time to realise they can do business in different ways once they’ve got UFB installed. Previously they might have emailed their suppliers or business partners but with UFB they can share data more efficiently through cloud-based services, or by providing access directly into their own inventory or back end systems, for example.”

SME business owners, along with schools and medical facilities, are the real target market for UFB in terms of business use.

“TUANZ has long advocated for a public awareness campaign for SME owners so they can see the benefits of UFB and the RBI services. They need a lot more assistance in realising the positives of faster connectivity and we are working with MBIE and others in promoting those benefits.”

Regional economic development is the obvious opportunity for promotion, as regional fibre deployments have given the regions a leg-up in terms of competitiveness over central city companies.

“We have seen Whangarei, Tokoroa and Hamilton all complete their UFB builds and there’s a great opportunity to really make the most of it and build out our regional businesses.”

Xero founder Rod Drury has recently announced the accounting company is building a 30-seat call centre in Napier as part of his desire to see the regions prosper and TUANZ would like to see other companies follow suit.

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TUANZ Media Release: TUANZ cautiously welcomes Government’s direction on the future of communications regulation

14th April 2016

TUANZ cautiously welcomes the Government’s announcements today on some key decisions for the future of telecommunications regulation in New Zealand.

“These decision are generally in line with our submission to the original discussion paper” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.  “We are generally supportive of the move to the utility style regulations and will engage in the discussion on the specifics to ensure we vigorously support the right outcomes for business and consumer users of these services”.   He went on to state that until there is more detail released on the proposals including transitional arrangements, the impact will not be fully understood.

The decision regarding consulting on competition in the mobile sector is also a positive decision.  “This was also one of the key points we made in our submission  – that all aspects of the mobile market need to be reviewed to ensure ongoing competition is strong and we see the continuance of multi-party participation.” said Mr. Young.  TUANZ believes this review is critical to ensure that all the relevant tools are in place to ensure that competition and coverage continue to improve in Rural New Zealand in line with their goal of high quality, ubiquitous connectivity across the country.

“We look forward to engaging fully in the process as the group representing the users of these technologies” Mr. Young said.

ENDS

 

 

TUANZ Media Release: TUANZ symposium connecting rural New Zealand.

April 4, 2018

The TUANZ Rural Connectivity Symposium is back for 2016, on 28th April at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Building on the valuable networks and relationships formed at the successful 2015 event, TUANZ will bring internet service providers, health providers and rural end-users of telecommunications together again to talk about the opportunities and challenges of internet access and connectivity in rural New Zealand.

This year’s symposium is being held in conjunction with Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHĀNZ), and New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF). It will kick off with an opening address from Communications Minister Amy Adams, and ‘State of the Nation’ speeches from agribusiness and banking leaders.

Each of the day’s speakers come from varied backgrounds, including health, farming, businesses and technology, and will share their thoughts about the future of connectivity in rural New Zealand.

TUANZ CEO Craig Young says that the focus of the day is going to be on how rural connectivity can provide better outcomes across three important areas: health, liveability, and business.

“The symposium provides a unique opportunity for those affected by rural connectivity in New Zealand to present a unified voice as the government begins to move into the next phase of the rural broadband initiative”, says Mr Young.

“RHĀNZ in partnership with TUANZ and NZYF is committed to influencing the debate and policy decisions around rural connectivity with the input of those most affected by the issue – the rural residents of New Zealand”, says RHĀNZ Chief Executive, Michelle Thompson.

Attendees will be actively involved during the symposium, with two workshop sessions, and panel discussions throughout the day. The partners will also publish a post-symposium paper as a summary of the major themes to emerge out of the day, both for distribution to attendees, and to help shape the thinking of internet providers and government policy makers.

If you are interested in helping rural communities be part of the 21st century in New Zealand, you can register to attend on the RHĀNZ and TUANZ websites.

The symposium is on Thursday 28th April from 9am–5pm, at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, and will be followed by networking drinks. Registration costs $120 for TUANZ, RHĀNZ and NZYF members, or $250 for non-members.

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TUANZ Media Release: Easier install access an important step for UFB rollout

Feb 22, 2018

The Government’s announcement of streamlined consenting rules for installing Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) is an excellent step towards getting all New Zealanders connected.

TUANZ CEO Craig Young says property access for installations is one of the most important issues facing the UFB rollout, and he is happy to finally see that Government, and Minister Adams, have moved to deal with the problem.

“There is rapidly growing demand for UFB, and Government is rightly focused on making sure there are no unnecessary delays for customers wanting to get connected,” says Young.

“These new rules will allow customers living down shared driveways and right-of-ways to be able to access this nationally important infrastructure without unnecessary difficulty or delay.

“Just last week TUANZ reiterated the importance of dealing with install access issues. We hope that the necessary legislation will be drafted and moved through the House as soon as possible.

“Just as importantly, we are looking forward to seeing Government’s plans for opening up install access to multi-dwelling units (apartments for example) where people have been unable to get fibre installed, and measures to provide certainty to network operators about access to private property to maintain fibre infrastructure,” says Young.

There is still a lot of work to be done by industry to ensure that customers don’t have to wait to get connected, from streamlining how they work together to service customers, to the notable shortage in the number of technicians that can install fibre – a more complicated process than a traditional install.

“A quick and painfree install process is vital to the success of the UFB programme,” says Young. 

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TUANZ Media Release: Now’s good to check you internet service, as UFB connections grow

With the latest government figures showing that Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB), and Rural Broadband (RBI) connections continue to increase, it’s time for users to start reviewing their Internet services to make sure they’re getting the best speeds, and the best price, available.

TUANZ CEO Craig Young said that yesterday’s numbers, along with last week’s report from the Telecommunications Forum (TCF), show the vast improvement that has been made in the New Zealand telecommunications industry over the last decade, and that it is important for users to actively compare their options as the market continues to grow.

The acceptance of the Commerce Commission’s copper pricing decision by industry was also a positive sign for the sector, said Young, and, while TUANZ believes the outcome was not beneficial to users, “it has given the industry important clarity on access pricing from now until 2019, which is important for users as they are choosing between services”.

Users can see what services are available to them by checking their address on their local retail service providers’ websites, on the Chorus or local fibre company’s site, or on the National Broadband Map available via the TUANZ website.

“TUANZ is committed to encouraging the continued growth in uptake of the new fast broadband services, as we believe they deliver the best possible service and price for users”, said Young.

“We were an early advocate for the need to increase network infrastructure investment, which helped lead to the UFB and RBI policies and programmes, and we will continue to support their uptake and use by people and businesses as an essential investment in New Zealand’s future.

“Our focus now needs to turn to how we are going to use UFB and RBI to turn New Zealand into a digital economy, and how we can get fibre installed into premises more urgently.”

Latest figures show that it can take anywhere from 22 to 104 days to have the service installed, and government is still to move on issues around multi-dwelling units and other issues impacting on installation.

“While we all know that installation is not as simple as flicking a switch, we are concerned that delivery times are increasing rather than decreasing. TUANZ is interested in working with industry and government to help address these sorts of issues where we can”, said Young.

While residential uptake continues to grow at a rapid pace, slower business uptake should be a concern to policy makers and service providers alike.

“Encouraging small and medium enterprises to take up these new services will encourage innovation in their approach to increasing business productivity, leading to better economic outcomes for both them and our country”, said Young.

“TUANZ is committed to developing resources to help businesses understand the value of fibre and 4G services, and how they can save time and money by investing in putting UFB and RBI to work for them.”

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Media Release : TUANZ submits on Telco Act Review

4th November 2015

TUANZ (The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand) yesterday submitted its response to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s discussion paper: Regulating communications for the future – Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001 .  

 

Building on 30 years of representing telecommunications users, TUANZ response is based on its new strategic direction to ensure New Zealanders can make the most of the digitally connected world. “TUANZ position has been consistent and clear: The availability of competitively priced, good quality connectivity in all parts of NZ is a critical economic enabler for the future of the NZ economy.” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.  “We want to work collaboratively with industry and government to deliver our vision but the outcomes for Users will always be our most important driver.”

The submission is a result of a series of TUANZ member workshops which presented further information and allowed for debate and discussion on the issues. “Our focus in our submission is the outcomes of any review for users rather than specific details.  However we have suggested a view on the issues we believe are critical to the continued development of our connected economy” Mr Young said.  

Of critical importance to TUANZ and its members is that the hard work done by all parties to get us to a point where we have fierce competition at the retail level for broadband services, and an independent pricing regime in place for the bottleneck access assets is not lost in the review.  TUANZ supports the Government’s proposal that regulation of the Telecommunications sector is still required, and agree that it should be targeted at the access layer.  Members are also clear that the future pricing of these access services must be settled by the time the current arrangements expire in 2020.

TUANZ also supports the investigation of alternative approaches to the current pricing modelling approach in the Act which were developed in quite a different time in the telecommunications market.  TUANZ awaits for further detail on how any alternative model (eg Utility pricing approach) would be applied before commenting further.

A key issue for TUANZ members is the state of competition with the mobile market. Since the Act was originally passed we have seen continued investment by the two major mobile networks in initially extending coverage, and more latterly in the upgrading of the networks for greater speeds which we recognise has led to significant head to head competition.  We have also seen the arrival of a third mobile network operator, but that only came about after significant challenges around gaining spectrum and a workable roaming agreement were overcome.  In our view, we have seen no successful Mobile Virtual Network Operators develop within the New Zealand marketplace.  During our consultation with members, it was expressed that we are unlikely to see the investment in a fourth mobile network and so we believe that, for the long term benefits for end users, there should be an independent review of the wholesale mobile market around all aspects, from the cost and availability of roaming arrangements to MVNOs, through all forms of infrastructure sharing.  The aim should be to ensure that the right access and incentives are in place to create innovate competition at the retail level. This review could be undertaken by the Commerce Commission similar to other investigations it has undertaken.

TUANZ looks forward to continuing to represent the views of users in this critically important process.

 

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Media Release : TUANZ submits on Telco Act Review

4th November 2015

TUANZ (The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand) yesterday submitted its response to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s discussion paper: Regulating communications for the future – Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001 .  

 

Building on 30 years of representing telecommunications users, TUANZ response is based on its new strategic direction to ensure New Zealanders can make the most of the digitally connected world. “TUANZ position has been consistent and clear: The availability of competitively priced, good quality connectivity in all parts of NZ is a critical economic enabler for the future of the NZ economy.” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.  “We want to work collaboratively with industry and government to deliver our vision but the outcomes for Users will always be our most important driver.”

The submission is a result of a series of TUANZ member workshops which presented further information and allowed for debate and discussion on the issues. “Our focus in our submission is the outcomes of any review for users rather than specific details.  However we have suggested a view on the issues we believe are critical to the continued development of our connected economy” Mr Young said.  

Of critical importance to TUANZ and its members is that the hard work done by all parties to get us to a point where we have fierce competition at the retail level for broadband services, and an independent pricing regime in place for the bottleneck access assets is not lost in the review.  TUANZ supports the Government’s proposal that regulation of the Telecommunications sector is still required, and agree that it should be targeted at the access layer.  Members are also clear that the future pricing of these access services must be settled by the time the current arrangements expire in 2020.

TUANZ also supports the investigation of alternative approaches to the current pricing modelling approach in the Act which were developed in quite a different time in the telecommunications market.  TUANZ awaits for further detail on how any alternative model (eg Utility pricing approach) would be applied before commenting further.

A key issue for TUANZ members is the state of competition with the mobile market. Since the Act was originally passed we have seen continued investment by the two major mobile networks in initially extending coverage, and more latterly in the upgrading of the networks for greater speeds which we recognise has led to significant head to head competition.  We have also seen the arrival of a third mobile network operator, but that only came about after significant challenges around gaining spectrum and a workable roaming agreement were overcome.  In our view, we have seen no successful Mobile Virtual Network Operators develop within the New Zealand marketplace.  During our consultation with members, it was expressed that we are unlikely to see the investment in a fourth mobile network and so we believe that, for the long term benefits for end users, there should be an independent review of the wholesale mobile market around all aspects, from the cost and availability of roaming arrangements to MVNOs, through all forms of infrastructure sharing.  The aim should be to ensure that the right access and incentives are in place to create innovate competition at the retail level. This review could be undertaken by the Commerce Commission similar to other investigations it has undertaken.

TUANZ looks forward to continuing to represent the views of users in this critically important process.

 

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Media Release : Major tech conference planned for 2016

23 October 2015, For Immediate Release

 A consortium of 12 successful tech-related conferences and bodies have announced a major collaborative ICT conference in Wellington in July 2016.

 ITx 2016, to be held at Wellington’s TSB Arena and Shed 6 complex on 11-13 July 2016, will include 12 individual tech-related conferences under one roof. Aimed at those working in the software and IT industry, ITx 2016 will include diverse specialist conferences focusing on areas such as testing, tech education, agile, communications, innovation and the internet, IT project management, professional practice, open source, exporting and commercialization, and more.

 In announcing ITx 2016, IITP CEO Paul Matthews said that the ITx concept had been born as a 3-conference collaboration in 2014 and the model had been hugely successful. “ITx brings the wider tech community together while maintaining specialisations, the best of both worlds”, Matthews said.

“ITx will bring together leaders in the tech sector from around New Zealand and the world”.

While the IT industry had been criticised at times for the fragmentation of bodies, events like ITx showed that collaboration was alive and well in the sector.

NZTech CEO Graeme Muller pointed to ITx as a great example of a united industry working together. “While we and others have growing individual programmes of events and other activities, ITx is a great opportunity for our sector to come together as one”, Muller said.

itSMFnz President Tristan Boot echoed that sentiment. “For the first time, itSMF Conference delegates will not only get the best of service management, but have the opportunity to learn and network with professionals from right across the sector”, Boot said.

“Being involved with other organisations in the ICT area fits nicely with our common need to collaborate as we look to raise New Zealand into a top 10 nation for business usage of ICT,” said TUANZ CEO Craig Young.

NZRise Co-chair Victoria MacLennan also welcomed ITx 2016 and the unashamed focus on the industry. “New Zealand’s digital technology industry is a thriving sector and large employer. It makes perfect sense to bring as many smart people as possible together under one roof”, MacLennan said.

Computing and IT Research and Education New Zealand (CITRENZ) Co-Chair Alison Clear says ITx as an opportunity for even greater collaboration across education and industry. “The successful CITRENZ conference has been fostering that education/industry partnership since 1988, and ITx is a great opportunity to grow that massively”, Clear said.

InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter also highlighted the importance of collaboration and the tech industry working together. “We are pleased to be a part of ITx as an opportunity to work together with organisations and events from around the tech industry. ITx will be an exciting opportunity for collaboration in shaping the future of the Internet for the benefit of New Zealand,” says Carter.

The Project Management Institute of New Zealand’s South Island Chair, James Dobson, is thrilled that PMINZ are a part of ITx. “Our annual Conference (usually held in Sept/Oct) focusses on Project Management across all industries. 40% of our members are IT Project Managers, so getting the chance to rub shoulders with the key players in the industry is a great opportunity. One of PMINZ’s key goals is to work more closely organizations where there is a crossover with project management – this will certainly allow us to do just that!”, Dobson said.

ITx 2016 will also see conferences across health IT, testing, agile, telecommunications, internet innovation, open source and IT project management. Health Informatics NZ (HINZ) CEO Kim Mundell said ITx was a great opportunity for those involved in Health IT to get together to hear about the latest in both health informatics and the sector as a whole. “This is the best of both worlds”, Mundell said.

 ITx partners include:

  • The Institute of IT Professionals NZ (IITP), the largest body of IT Professionals in NZ;
  • NZ Technology Industry Association (NZTech), the body representing tech companies;
  • NZRise, the representative body for NZ-owned digital technology companies;
  • IT Service Management Forum NZ, the network for IT Service Management professionals;
  • CITRENZ, the body of computing schools in the Institute of Technology and Polytech sector;
  • Health Informatics NZ, the leading body for individuals practicing in health IT;
  • TUANZ, the representative body for ICT and communications users.
  • Test Professionals Network, the leading forum for promoting excellence in systems and software testing;
  • Agile Day, where Agile professionals come together;
  • InternetNZ, the voice of the internet community;
  • Project Management Institute of NZ, representing PM professionals; and
  • NZ Open Source Society (NZOSS), the body promoting Open Source Software in NZ

ITx 2016 will be the largest independent tech-related conference in New Zealand in a generation, with more than 1200 delegates expected across three days.

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