Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Fed Farmers opinion piece on Telecommunications

Federated Farmers opinion piece on Telecommunications

By Hugh Ritchie


To farmers around the country, the debate about what to do to Telecom to help drive competition in the telecommunications market has a sense of déjà vu. Electricity reforms a decade ago professed the same belief that regulation would somehow bring lower prices and better service to all New Zealanders.

The reality for rural New Zealand has been far from the vision espoused by the government of the time. Hands up anyone who thinks they have a cheaper electricity bill or that we have a more reliable power supply? That question could fit nicely on a Tui billboard!

If the government moves to regulate Telecom in the manner currently being discussed, why should farmers expect the outcome to be any different to that experienced with their electricity supply?

One of the main regulation options being discussed is local loop unbundling. In simple terms, this is where Telecom’s competitors can get access to Telecom’s copper network and run their own broadband services over it.

If Telecom’s network is unbundled, can farmers and their families really continue to expect Telecom and other companies to invest in getting broadband services to rural New Zealand?

It makes sense that increased competition would see companies try and cherry pick the highest-value customers, customers that by and large live in the cities. We hear from Telecom’s competitors about how unbundling will price broadband more competitively but we are yet to hear how much it will commit to invest in rural broadband coverage.

The reality is that real growth in rural uptake of broadband will occur only when rural people are paying the same, lower prices that urban people pay. As well, the telcos must recognise that its is very important for sales people in towns and cities to access farmers, just as much as farmers need to access them.

Good broadband access for farmers is good business for farmers and the businesses they do business with in cities. Banks, insurance companies, accountants, airlines – you name it – most businesses want to transact business online. If you’re the BNZ, AMP or Air New Zealand you should want your rural customers online.

Federated Farmers is convinced that there were significant failures in policy when assets were sold to Telecom. Insufficient regard was given to the needs of rural New Zealand and for the on-going investment in infrastructure nationwide.

If another review is on the agenda it must take proper and comprehensive account of the need to deliver quality and affordable telecommunications for the 80,000 farmers and growers that New Zealand depends on.

So let’s get a bit of measure back in to this debate. Let’s look at the needs of all New Zealanders, and not just its city-dwellers. It’s in this country’s best interests that affordable, reliable telecommunications are accessible to everyone.

We have a unique opportunity to get this right for New Zealand. Lets make the best of it.

*********

Hugh Ritchie is a Hawke’s Bay farmer and Federated Farmers’ spokesman on telecommunications


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news