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InternetNZ calls for FibreCo debate

InternetNZ calls for FibreCo debate

Media Release – 4 April 2008

InternetNZ (the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) calls for thorough debate on a report from the New Zealand Institute proposing a public/private monopoly fibre entity.

In its report, released earlier this week, the New Zealand Institute suggests the establishment of a “price-regulated investment vehicle” referred to as FibreCo.

Under the New Zealand Institute proposal, FibreCo would retain a monopoly over New Zealand’s national fibre access network and give all providers equal access to the network. It would be required to deploy fibre connections to 75 percent of New Zealand premises within 10 years.

InternetNZ agrees with the New Zealand Institute that a fast and efficient national path to the rollout of fibre is required. Whether establishing a monopoly investor in the form of FibreCo is the best method remains to be seen, says Executive Director Keith Davidson.

“The proposal provides a useful strawman model for debate, given the growing focus on options for open access to dark-fibre infrastructure. Planning for rapid roll-out of high speed broadband including fibre infrastructure and FTTH does need to be fast tracked,” he says.

“Despite the significant reforms to the regulatory framework applying to telecommunications which the government has made, and Telecom’s cabinetisation plans, New Zealand remains an international laggard in respect of broadband. The current reforms and rollout will stop us falling even further behind. Further action is required if New Zealand’s Digital Strategy desire of being in the top half of the OECD for broadband is to be realised.”

The Institute’s proposal touches on a range of important investment and infrastructure issues including ducting, back haul and last mile access.

InternetNZ is still considering the model and will be seeking more detail from the New Zealand Institute. InternetNZ will actively engage in the debate, to help develop consensus around a viable model for high speed broadband investment in New Zealand.

“Once a consensus or a viable plan emerges, the time for talk will be over, and action will need to follow – from the government and from the industry,” concludes Davidson.


ENDS

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