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Copper loop spectrum management report released

2 August 2006/014

Commission releases copper loop spectrum management report

The Commerce Commission has released a report from an independent consultant on the management of interference on the copper loop. The report, Local Loop Spectrum Management, focuses on copper loop broadband internet services.

The copper loop is the pair of copper wires that runs from Telecom's local exchanges or DSLAMs to customer premises and is capable of supporting a variety of services including voice and internet.

The report follows the release on 22 June 2006 of the Commission's determination on the applications for determination made by CallPlus and Ihug Limited for access to unconstrained bitstream service. In that determination, the Commission signalled that it intended to work with the industry to ensure that a robust and appropriate spectrum management regime that deals with the impact of one technology on another is implemented to ensure the efficient utilisation of Telecom's copper cable access network.

Telecom considers that an interim spectrum management plan is required to ensure that unconstrained ADSL services do not adversely impact other services in the same cable. The report prepared for the Commission provides an analysis of Telecom's approach to spectrum management proposed to the industry in May 2006. It also assesses the likely effect of the introduction of unconstrained ADSL services into Telecom's network.

The report found that unconstrained ADSL services are unlikely to increase the risk of interference with other ADSL services. The report suggests that an interim plan would be of limited value, but supports the development of a full plan before new technologies are deployed on the network.

The report covers topics including how different broadband technologies interact, interaction between users of the same technology (including ADSL) and how these services are likely to change with increased speeds and uptake of users.

The report provides an independent perspective on different approaches to copper loop spectrum management in other jurisdictions, a review of Telecom's approach, an explanation of the approach applied with the ACIF spectrum management regime, and factors to consider when designing a New Zealand spectrum management regime.

The Commission is supportive of the industry developing a plan covering all of the relevant copper cable technologies as a matter of urgency. However, the Commission does not consider it necessary to differentiate between the types of retail services being delivered over each technology when formulating a spectrum management plan.


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