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Kiwishare breach proves Govt is Telecom's toady

Kiwishare breach proves Government is Telecom's toady

Laila Harre MP Tue Sep 21 1999

Laila Harre
MPThe government backdown on Telecom's breech of the Kiwishare in charging for local calls for internet usage makes a mockery of the government's competition polices in the telecommunications market

Telecom is planning to make all internet users ring a number prefixed with 0867 or else they will incur a 2 cents a minute surcharge for internet use of more than 10 hours per month. This move would bypass interconnection agreements meaning Clear would lose millions of dollars and it would cost Internet Service Providers (ISPs) thousands in set up costs.

'This move reduces choices for internet customers, it increases prices and it jeopardises the growth of a competitive internet market in New Zealand,' Alliance Commerce and Information Technology spokesperson Laila Harré said.

'The government admits that it ignored legal advice from the Crown Law Office saying that Telecom was in breech of its Kiwishare obligations if they went ahead with charging for local calls

'Instead the government took Telecom's own advice that they weren't in breach of the Kiwishare. This is like a Judge asking a criminal to decide whether or not they are guilty after the police have caught them red handed.

'This move proves this government is going to do nothing to reign in Telecom's monopoly.

'In effect their 'slack-handed' regulation has imposed and extra tax on every home and business over the last nine years as Telecom has made record profits.

'What is worse is that Telecom now has a free hand to control internet access for New Zealand. The internet is becoming increasingly important for business and Telecom is set to impose its monopolistic business practices on access to it.

'Telecom claims people still have free local calling to the internet if they use 0867. They only have free access to the ISPs that have been forced to accept Telecom's anti-competitive controls over their businesses.

'It also makes a mockery of Maurice Williamson's recent moves to try and do something about Telecom's monopoly,' Laila Harré said.

ENDS

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