Media Release: TUANZ releases Issues Paper for Telco Review

MEDIA RELEASE : 10th August 2015


TUANZ (The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand) has today published on its website a paper which lists the issues it suggests should be covered in the upcoming review of the Telecommunications Act by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).  “We provided this list to MBIE earlier this year and we have released it today in line with our principles of positive leadership and providing credible contributions to debate around the issues” said the CEO of TUANZ, Craig Young.  

“Our focus is on helping New Zealand make the most of the digitally connected world and so we are more interested in the outcomes of any review for users rather than specific details.  To help with this we have suggested a high level list of specific issues we believe are critical to the continued development of our connected economy” Mr Young said.  

Mr Young says that TUANZ is supportive of the current market structure and are keen to see it allow such things as structural separation to fully bed in. TUANZ supports incremental change as required to this structure in the period covered by the review which is the post 2020 environment. This period will be featured as one where fibre services would be the predominant new fixed-connection type given the Government UFB project would be completed and the Crown Fibre contracted fibre pricing would cease to apply. Wireless technology is also likely to be advanced enough to offer reasonable competition to fixed services.

The summary list of issues that TUANZ consider are important to be debated is as follows:

  1. We should have an aim of ensuring we continue to have a world leading communications network supporting our economic growth and social development

  2. Our services must be competitive with like nations given we are increasingly competing in a global market

  3. Funding of user groups to enable credible input should be considered similar to the Australian model in regards to Government funding of ACANN (Australian Communications Consumer Action Network)

  4. The need for a TSO and the services included post 2020 should be debated. Questions of its applicability, its application to which market participants, and whether it should include any minimum standards of service performance should be included in the review.

  5. Urban and Rural planners need to consider Telecommunications as a basic infrastructure along with roads and water. We strongly suggest that it should be considered that the provision of these services be a mandatory planning requirement.

  6. Fair and sustainable competition at the service level should be the focus to encourage continued investment in infrastructure. One of the key planks of any regulatory framework must be to balance the requirement to deliver fair competition for end users, but also to ensure the investment engine is sustained.

  7. The continued convergence of service delivery over telecommunications infrastructure should lead to a review of the alignment of regulation and regulator of the sectors. The aim should be to ensure end-customers see increased choice and competition on how they receive content.

  8. The question of de-commissioning the urban copper networks should be a discussion so that post 2020 we encourage continued uptake of the new connectivity options, but also to reduce the cost overhead on the network owners.

  9. The Product disclosure regime needs to be tightened up.  Whilst the TCF has made valuable progress in this regard, we believe the continued development of a standardised disclosure regime would assist users to make informed choices.

  10. Independent dispute resolution should be mandated or at least heavily encouraged. The current dispute resolution service is a voluntary process and works reasonably well within its remit but TUANZ is of the view that the possibility of making membership of some such scheme compulsory should be considered as part of gaining the right to operate as an RSP.

Two other issues are included in the paper but are subject already to proposals included around the extension of the Nation Environmental Standards and the Land Access for Telecommunications discussion paper released by MBIE.

Mr Young said “The issues raised are indicative of our early thoughts on the items that should be canvassed through the review process but are unlikely to be exhaustive. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government and the ICT industry on this and more generally on ensuring NZ businesses are able to make the most of the digitally connected economy.”

The full paper can be found here: 


Media Release: TUANZ today submits response to proposed UFB and RBI extensions

TUANZ Media Release – 3rd July

TUANZ has today submitted a response to the Government on the proposed UFB2, RBI2 and Mobile Blackspots programme.  Over many years TUANZ has consistently stated that that the availability of good quality high speed connectivity in all parts of New Zealand is a critical economic enabler for the future of the NZ economy.

“We have been providing leadership in the need for improved access for rural users since the first Rural Connectivity Symposium held in 2005 which made the Symposium held last month the 10th anniversary event.” said the CEO of TUANZ, Craig Young.  

As part of this years symposium there were a number of general themes of concerns from rural users ranging from perceived lack of quality of connectivity, affordability issues through to a general lack of awareness of what services were currently available.  “The overriding theme though was that there was no ‘one size fits all’ solution and that the Government should be mindful of regional solutions in this round.” said Mr Young.  “And while it’s outside the current RBI process, We think we as a nation need an ambitious vision that is couched in terms of outcomes and experience”

TUANZ is committing to continuing to lead in pursuing this ambitious vision:

New Zealand should have the vision of meeting the aspiration that the rural connectivity experience is the same as the urban connectivity experience.

TUANZ believes this would provide truly transformative change.  It would require political will and effort and education is key:

  1. New Zealand needs to accept that connectivity is now seen as a right not a want

  2. New Zealand should aim for equity of access across any perceived rural/urban divide

  3. New Zealand should develop a long-term, cross party strategy for rural connectivity.

The document itself also includes a section on the criteria and priority that participants at the symposium suggested should be applied to and preferred solution under the current ROI process which are around the idea of being “fit for purpose”.

We have placed a copy of our reponse on our website here:  .



Media Release : Commerce Commission Draft Decision delivers a disappointingly mixed outcome for Users


The Commerce Commission latest draft decision on wholesale copper charges this morning has  provided a mixed bag of results for users today.  Users will see no benefit in their monthly bills from telecommunications service providers given that the price set for monthly access remains basically unchanged from the previous draft decision.  Users have already seen the effect of the increase of the latest decisions over the benchmarked initial price when it was released at the end of last year.  TUANZ had submitted with other interested parties that we believed the price should be lower than had been announced by the Commission last December and therefore lower than announced today.  

“For the significant number of people who will continue to receive their broadband over the copper network over the next 5 years, and especially those users in Rural New Zealand who will not have fibre access as part of UFB, this announcement disappointingly means no likelihood of reduction in monthly broadband charges” said Craig Young, TUANZ CEO.

TUANZ is pleased that the Commerce Commission has announced their preliminary decision not to backdate the changes to the copper access prices once finalised, which if implemented could have added more cost and uncertainty to users.

The Commission has released a raft of documents which provides complex detail around these numbers and TUANZ CEO Craig Young is concerned that the time for organisations such as TUANZ to submit on the decision is limited.  

“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.”  




Media Release: KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2015 highlights the importance of improved rural broadband

10th June 2015

Today’s release at NZ National Field Days by TUANZ member, KPMG, of the Agribusiness Agenda 2015 highlights the importance of improving access in the rural sector to high speed broadband.    The Agenda notes that since the last release in 2014 there has been an increased priority attached to delivering high speed rural broadband.  This year it has risen four places in a list of strategic issues of concern to be the second equal along with food safety.   The first issue of concern being ensuring a world-class biosecurity system.

Ian Proudfoot, KPMG Global Head of Agribusiness, said that “Fast connectivity in rural areas not only supports economic growth. It enhances healthcare delivery, overcomes isolation, and enables the unemployed to develop skills and become productive.”

“This recognition of this issue by rural thought leaders who contributed to the Agenda, shows the importance that we must continue to focus on ways to improve rural connectivity beyond where it is today.” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.  “This publication supports the messages we heard at our recent Rural Connectivity Symposium that it is time to recognise rural broadband needs are no different to urban needs.”

“We will be submitting on the MBIE request for information process to ensure a strong rural user voice is heard when deciding where to spend the current $100m allocated to extend the rural broadband initiative.. But this report also reiterates rural NZs call for continued improvement beyond current plans.” Mr Young said.

TUANZ has identified that working to help lift the digital competency of the New Zealand economy is one of its principles, and advocating the continued investment in improving rural broadband is a key element to this.  

The full KPMG Agribusiness Agenda can be downloaded from this



Media Release : TUANZ welcomes Government’s move to expedite fibre installs

Today’s release of a discussion document by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment on options for improving land access for telecommunications is a welcome step from the Government towards expediting complex fibre installs according to the CEO of the Telecommunications Users Association of NZ, Craig Young.

“We have for some time been pushing the message with the industry and the Government that the current access regime was hindering the uptake of fibre, particularly for small and medium businesses located in multi-unit complexes” said Mr Young.  “This paper outlines several positive options to enabling fibre companies to meet customer demand quicker and more efficiently.  We support the deemed consent approach outlined in the paper which means that fibre can be installed without having to wait inordinate amounts of time for all interested parties to respond to a request when they have no issues with the installation going ahead.”

TUANZ also strongly supports the proposal to investigate a new statutory right of access which would enable fibre companies to utilise existing assets, even when those existing assets traverse private land. “We see this as being key to extending fibre further especially into rural New Zealand as it significantly reduces the cost of build which is a key barrier in improving rural connectivity” said Mr Young.

TUANZ has identified as one of its overriding principles, working to help lift the digital competency of the New Zealand economy, and advocating the removal of barriers to uptake of new technology is a key element to this.  Feedback on the paper is due on the 24th July and TUANZ will be encouraging the Government to move quickly on the preferred solutions.

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.”


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:


TUANZ and RHAANZ welcome RBI2 announcements

16th March 2015


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:


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.”