Media Release : Cable cut reminds us of the risk of isolation

 

The news that the Southern Cross Cable suffered its second cut in three months is a timely reminder of our reliance on that network for international connectivity from New Zealand to the rest of the world. Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) CEO, Craig Young said “while we recognise that the Southern Cross cable is well maintained and managed, there will always be the chance of incidents caused by third parties that remind us of our reliance on that single cable system.”

Today’s cut was reported to be caused overnight when a contractor working near the cable in the state of Oregon cut through it with a digger.  Thankfully the design on the system as a figure eight enables the traffic to continue to flow through the other part of the network, but that leaves New Zealand families and businesses at risk of losing connectivity to the world if a second cut happens at the same time.

“We continue to support the development of a second undersea cable system to the continental United States to ensure diversity of supply and to reduce the risk of events like this having major flow on impacts on our economy” said Mr Young.  “This is about securing our ability to communicate with the world and should be seen as a priority by the Government as a key enabler to businesses making the most of the ultra-fast broadband networks being built in New Zealand.”

ENDS

Media Release: Rural Connectivity Symposium

TUANZ and RHAANZ are pleased to formally announce that their jointly hosted Rural Connectivity Symposium will take place in Wellington at the James Cook Hotel on Thursday 28th May 2015. “The aim of the day is to gather representatives of rural users as well as service providers to learn and discuss possible priorities around the recently announced Rural Broadband Initiative #2 (RBI2) and Mobile Blackspots funding by the Government” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ. “We have in the past taken leadership in pushing for improved rural connectivity and this a continuation of that work.”

Rural satellite service provider, Wireless Nation will be the premier sponsor for the one-day event which will be a mixture of presentations and workshops. Other sponsors announced today include SPARK New Zealand, TRACTA and the Rural Contractors New Zealand. Speakers on the day will include ANZ Economist, Con Williams, Chair of the New Zealand Telehealth Forum, Dr John Garrett, as well a number of speakers from Government and the telecommunications and health industries.

The CE of RHAANZ Michelle Thompson, reiterated that “Bringing together a large number of stakeholders to discuss the options around improved connectivity is a great opportunity for us to provide a strong unified response which reflects the voices of rural users of telecommunications services”

Tickets are limited and registration details can be found on the websites of the two organisations as follows: www.tuanz.org.nz/rural-symposium www.rhaanz.org.nz

ENDS

TUANZ and RHAANZ welcome RBI2 announcements

16th March 2015

MEDIA RELEASE – TUANZ and RHAANZ

TUANZ and RHAANZ welcome RBI2 announcements

The announcements on the 12th March by the Hon Amy Adams, Minister for Communications in regards to the RBI2 and Mobile Blackspots programmes have been welcomed by the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand and the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand.  “We support the continued investment in rural infrastructure to ensure that this vitally important part of the New Zealand economy and society is not left behind” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.

To ensure that the voices of rural users of telecommunications services are heard in the process, TUANZ and RHAANZ have entered into an agreement to collaborate on the issue of rural connectivity.  “Our organisation represents most of the rural stakeholder groups with our focus on health and we welcome the expertise that TUANZ can bring to our advocacy around the importance of connectivity for the improvement of rural health outcomes.” said Michelle Thompson, CE of RHAANZ.

As a first step, the two organisations are planning to host a Rural Connectivity Symposium in Wellington in late May.  The aim of this day will be to develop a joint submission to the RBI2 and Mobile Blackspot requests for information. Ms Thompson says “The ability to gather together a large number of rural stakeholders and to provide a response to the Government’s request is a great opportunity for us to provide a strong unified response which reflects the voices of rural users of telecommunications services”

Next steps in the Copper Pricing process – We are disappointed

Today the Commerce Commission released their next decision in the copper pricing process – the draft final pricing principal decision.  Included in the 900 pages of documentation is the simple outcome of the Copper Line price (that is an unbundled line with no services attached) to rise from their initial price by $4.70 and the price of the Broadband service uplift on that is reduced by 75c.  This is still a reduction over the amount Chorus has been allowed to charge up to yesterday but not as much as we had seen in the Initial price decision.  There is significant detail to be worked through and we now enter into a period where we will work on making a submission on this draft due late January (at this point).  In the meantime we have made the following press release:

PRESS RELEASE – TUANZ

TUANZ finds new uncertainty for broadband users disappointing

The Commerce Commission draft decision on wholesale copper charges this morning has introduced new uncertainty for users of broadband services by proposing a $4 increase from their interim decision.  Users have already seen the benefit of lower prices flowing through as a result of this process and improved competition.  TUANZ expected that yesterday’s implementation of the interim prices would further reduce prices. This may now be reversed in April next year when the final price applies.  

 

TUANZ is also concerned that the Commission has chosen not to make a formal statement on backdating at this point until they release a discussion paper on the issue.

 

The detail around these numbers is complex and detailed and TUANZ CEO Craig Young is concerned that the time for organisations to submit on the decision is limited.  

 

“We will endeavour to submit as quickly as possible to fit in with the Commission’s timelines, however we certainly don’t want to be hasty,” said Mr Young.

 

“We will continue to participate fully in this process, always speaking for the end-users of these services.  Our concern has always been over ensuring a fair and competitive market which is sustainable and continues to provide world class services to New Zealanders at fair prices.”  

 

ENDS