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"Agreement for the new millennium" urged by CLEAR

Tuesday, 02 May 2000

"Agreement for the new millennium" urged by CLEAR Chief Executive

CLEAR Chief Executive Tim Cullinane has paved the way for a "telecommunications agreement for the new millennium" by kicking off the formal re-negotiation of his company's interconnection agreement with Telecom.

Mr Cullinane has written to Telecom Chief Executive Theresa Gattung giving notice of the re-negotiation. To take account of the outcome of the current Ministerial Inquiry into Telecommunications, which has the potential to significantly influence the competitive environment, he proposed a new agreement which could either be amended or would be of short duration.

The new agreement will replace the current document, signed in 1996, which is widely regarded as the benchmark for the industry in New Zealand. CLEAR will advocate "an agreement for the new millennium" - one that promotes the growth of Internet and other IP-based forms of communication alongside conventional traffic, and encourages choice for customers.

"Triggering the interconnection agreement re-negotiation is the first step in reshaping one of the foundations of telecommunications in New Zealand," Mr Cullinane said. "The current agreement has a massive influence on customer outcomes. It's very important for all telecommunications users that the new agreement really opens the door to more choice, more innovation and better prices."

Mr Cullinane said the current agreement expires at the end of this year, and was now in a period in which either company could trigger a re-negotiation. The Government's stated interest in enhancing competition, its specific proposals for Commerce Act reforms, and the work of the Ministerial Inquiry, together suggested that now was the time to start the process.

"We've said for some time that the current agreement is one-sided and has the effect of limiting competition. This is to the detriment of the consumer," said Mr Cullinane. "Telecom itself has also recently criticised parts of the agreement. So we think it is time to put all this aside and to work towards a new agreement."

ENDS

For further information contact Ross Inglis Public Affairs Manager CLEAR Communications Ph: (09) 912 4400 Office Ph: (021) 636 228 Mobile


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