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Commission Releases Second Discussion Paper

22 April 2002

Telecommunications Service Obligations: Commission Releases Second Discussion Paper

The Commerce Commission today released the second of two discussion papers outlining its proposed approach under the Telecommunications Act 2001 (the Act) to determining the cost of the Kiwi Share - now called the telecommunications service obligations (TSO).

The Commission’s first paper, TSO Discussion Paper and Practice Note - Cornerstone Issues Paper, discussed the Commission’s preliminary views on the key conceptual issues associated with administering the TSO regime.

The second paper, TSO Discussion Paper and Practice Note - Implementation Issues Paper, discusses more detailed implementation issues associated with measuring the net cost of TSO and allocating this cost among carriers.

The Commission invites industry participants and other interested parties to make written submissions on the proposed approaches to various TSO costing issues contained in both discussion papers. The closing date for submissions is 14 May 2002.

After considering submissions, the Commission will hold a four day public conference (please note new dates) on 23-24 & 27-28 May 2002 in Wellington. The conference will allow interested parties to make oral presentations to the Commission and the Commission to ask questions.

The discussion paper is available from on the Commission’s website, www.comcom.govt.nz.

Background

The Telecommunications Act (2001) came into force on 20 December 2001. The main purpose of the Act is to regulate the supply of telecommunications services. Its key features are:

- establishing a Telecommunications Commissioner (who will be a member of the Commerce Commission);

- "designating" and "specifying" a range of key telecommunications services;

- providing the right for any party involved in negotiations over a designated or specified service to apply to the Commission to make a determination on all or some of the terms on which the service must be supplied;

- specifying what the Commission's determinations should cover, and how they should be carried out;

- providing a mechanism for establishing a new universal service obligation (called the telecommunications service obligations or TSO); and

- specifying the way in which the TSO should be costed, and how the cost burden should be shared among different telecommunications carriers.

The Commission is in the process of deciding how it intends to approach the more detailed aspects of the TSO task. The purpose of this Discussion Paper, therefore, is to provide an opportunity for industry representatives and key stakeholders to comment on the Commission’s tentative conclusions in this area.

Ends

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