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Telecommunications Bill Introduced

Communications Minister Paul Swain has introduced legislation designed to deliver on the government's decisions last year to reform the telecommunications regulatory regime in New Zealand.

The Telecommunications Bill will be referred to the Commerce Select Committee for consideration following its first reading next week.

"This Bill reflects the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Ministerial Inquiry into Telecommunications," Paul Swain said.

"Using the principle of 'as much market as possible and as much government as necessary' our response to the Inquiry was aimed at improving the regulatory regime for telecommunications.

"Our aim is to ensure delivery of cost-efficient, timely and innovative telecommunication services on an ongoing, fair and equitable basis to all New Zealanders.

The measures in the Bill include:

- The establishment of a new Telecommunications Commissioner operating from within the Commerce Commission;

- Regulation of key services including interconnection with Telecom's fixed telephone network, wholesaling of Telecom's fixed network services and number portability;

- establishing processes by which disputes over regulated services can be resolved and new services can be regulated, if necessary; and

- provisions for the independent costing of the Kiwi Share, and a process by which telecommunications industry players can contribute to Kiwi Share net costs in a more transparent and neutral way.

"The Bill will be referred to the Commerce Committee for consideration. The Committee will receive and hear public submissions and report back to the House with its recommendations.

"It is anticipated that the Telecommunications Bill will be passed by the end of September," Paul Swain said.


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