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Commerce Commission releases TRS TSO determination

Media Release

Issued 9 June 2006/137

Telecommunications Act: Commerce Commission releases TRS TSO determination

The Commerce Commission has released its determination on the cost of running the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for meeting the telephone communication needs of deaf, hearing impaired and speech impaired people.

The TRS is a telecommunications service obligation (TSO) operated by Sprint International New Zealand. The determination covers the period 15 November 2004 to 30 June 2005 and the Commission has determined that the cost for that period is $1.7 million.

The cost will be apportioned between Telecom, TelstraClear, WorldxChange, Vodafone, CallPlus, Compass, Teamtalk and ihug in proportion to their net liable revenues.

The draft determination released in March 2006 noted that Sprint had incurred a performance penalty for the late implementation of Phase 2 Core Services of the TRS. In the final determination, this penalty has been offset against a rebate that Sprint had earlier voluntarily granted the Crown for traffic charges, in recognition of the fact that the impact of the delay on TRS users was minimal.

A copy of the Commission’s determination will be available on the Commission’s website, www.comcom.govt.nz, shortly.


Background

Under Part 3A of the Telecommunications Act 2001 there is provision for Ministerial declarations of Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO). This is to facilitate the supply of certain telecommunications services that may not otherwise be supplied on a commercial basis, or at a price that is considered by the Minister of Communications to be affordable to the affected end-users.

There are currently two TSO obligations:

- TSO Deed for Local Residential Telephone Service between the Crown and Telecom; and

- TSO Deed for Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) for the hearing impaired between the Crown and Sprint.

The Commission administers the TSO deeds annually by:

- monitoring compliance of the service providers with their deed;

- determining the cost faced by the service providers, unless the amount is specified in the deed as is the case with the TRS for the hearing impaired;

- determining the liable persons; and

- the apportionment of this cost among the liable persons.

For the current TRS TSO deed the Commission is required to make an annual assessment of Sprint’s compliance with five service quality measures (SQMs).

The Commission is satisfied that Sprint has complied with four out of the five SQMs, with two measures having been satisfactorily met and compliance with the other two having been waived by the Crown.

The Commission is working with Sprint to ensure that in future periods better testing procedures are used to assess SQM 5 – dialling response for outward calls.

No penalty is linked to the SQM 5 testing issue.

ENDS

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