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Getting There Faster - Getting it Right

Wednesday September 13, 2006

Getting There Faster - Getting it Right

TelstraClear indicated its support for the Telecommunications Amendment Bill today, highlighting a number of changes which will help the industry ‘get there faster and get it right’ when it comes to better services for customers.

TelstraClear’s Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says the company’s submission focused on six key areas in the Bill that could be improved to get competition working for New Zealand consumers.

“At a broad level we are suggesting changes to ensure equivalence and transparency so that competitors are treated fairly when they buy services from Telecom. They are the basic principles that will ensure customers benefit from changes to legislation,” says Dr Freeth.

“We used our time with the Committee to highlight the challenges and to focus on the positive outcomes that will, and are already, flowing from the government’s proposed changes.”

Dr Freeth highlighted TelstraClear’s recent announcement of the $50 million Tauranga broadband, home phone and mobile service ‘Unplugged’ and the nationwide ‘PDQ’ (Pretty Damn Quick) broadband service as examples of the innovation and investment the company would bring to an increasingly open market.

“Without the announcements around changes to legislation I doubt we’d have gained shareholder approval to build Unplugged. No one should underestimate the benefit of these changes in improving New Zealand’s attractiveness as a place to invest,” he says.

The key suggestions for improvement in the Bill recommended by TelstraClear are:

- Introduction of an information disclosure framework to ensure Telecom’s retail business does not receive special treatment.

- Imputation tests for regulated services to determine whether there is sufficient margin to allow competitors to compete.

- Flexibility in the standard terms process so the Commerce Commission can deal with disputes as they arise, ensuring different competitors can create innovative services.

- Establishment of a specialist Telecommunications Adjudicator to handle the inevitable disputes that will arise as changes are introduced. This role is in place in the UK and Australia.

- Specific service descriptions that avoid unnecessary disputes before the Commerce Commission over definitions and what is covered.

- Enforcement powers and a stiffening of proposed penalties that discourage anti-competitive behaviour


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