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Telecom monopoly over local lines should go

20 December 2000

Telecom monopoly over local lines should go - Greens

The Green's are pushing for Telecom's local line monopoly to be broken up, saying while they support the Government's move to regulate the Telecommunications industry, it doesn't go far enough.

"Local loop unbundling is happening all over the developed world. It allows competition into the copper wire telecommunications market, pushing service quality up and prices down," said Green Party Communications Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

"We are disappointed the Government has opted to allow Telecom to retain its local line monopoly and we will continue to push for the local loop to be unbundled. We need to use this opportunity to fully enter the 21st century rather than drag our feet.

Ms Kedgley said overseas experience had shown that an incumbent like Telecom tends to maintain its dominant position even when the local loop is opened up to competitors.

"We need to establish a telecommunications environment that will allow New Zealanders to gain the full spectrum of benefits on offer in countries we are competing with. "In our view, the telecommunications network should not have been sold off in the first place. But since we can't buy it back, we need to open up the telecommunications industry to healthy competition, otherwise we get the worst of both worlds," Ms Kedgley said.

"Telecommunications reform is not about protecting a monopoly. It is about creating an environment that is good for all New Zealand business and residential consumers," she said.

Ms Kedgley said in the absence of an industry specific regulator, the industry was being 'de facto' regulated by Telecom. She said that telecommunications users would benefit from an industry regulator that made the playing field more level.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728, 025 270 9088 Sean Weaver (telecommunications researcher): 04 470 6715

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