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"Break Telecom's broadband monopoly"

13 February 2006

"Break Telecom's broadband monopoly" Greens tell Labour

Breaking Telecom's monopoly over IT wire infrastructure should be an urgent priority for the Government this year, according to Green Party IT Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos.

"The artificially slow speed and high price of the broadband services Telecom offers are seriously hampering New Zealand businesses and short-changing home users. The Government needs to reverse its previous decision and move swiftly to break Telecom's monopoly and unbundle the local loop," he says.

"What we have now is the equivalent of a multi-lane highway paid for by tax-payers, where the private owner has blocked off most of the lanes. Telecom is manufacturing congestion on the information highway."

The Green Party has welcomed indications by the Prime Minister that the Government intends to address the problem, but stresses that anything less than full unbundling will fall short for New Zealanders.

"Already, at least one major IT company has said that the poor broadband situation in New Zealand is affecting what they can sell here, compared to Australia. New Zealanders are being short-changed because the Government has rejected local loop unbundling," Nandor says.

"While it is no surprise that Telecom wants to maintain its monopoly, it is astonishing that, to date, the Government has let it.

"A strong IT infrastructure is one significant way that New Zealand can compensate for our geographical distance from other land masses. That possibility is being hampered by Telecom's monopoly over the copper wire network.

"The innovations that will explode with the advent of cheap and fast broadband are exciting to consider. They will open up new ways of doing things, in both businesses and homes.

"New Zealanders are generally quick to embrace and advance new technologies, but they are being denied the chance to do so by Telecom's short-sightedness," Nandor says.

ENDS

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