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Cullen should support Telecom's property rights

Press Release
Libertarianz
Communications

Cullen should support Telecom's property rights

"Telecom's network does not exist for other companies to bludge off" declared Libertarianz Spokesman on Communications tScott Wilson today, responding to the joint lobbying of Telstra Clear, Slingshot, IHUG, Callplus and Compass Communications for the government to force Telecom to surrender much of its property rights in its local fixed-line telecommunications network.

In a week when Michael Cullen correctly opined that "respect for property rights ... is in everyone's interests and is essential to fair and principled government," Wilson suggests that Telecom's property rights in its local phone network should be respected by the government.

"Telecom owns its network. The idea that the Telecom network is a network 'generations of New Zealanders have paid for' is meaningless," says Wilson. "That is no different from saying that all the previous owners of your house have the right to use it because 'generations paid for it.' Telecom does owns its network. Telstra Clear owns its network. Vodafone owns its network. It is up to owners of businesses to negotiate voluntarily how each wishes to use the property of the other. After all, will Telstra Clear open its network up to Telecom? I doubt it!" Wilson stated.

Wilson also noted that one company, Vodafone, is notably absent from the list because it has invested in building a duplicate network. "Most New Zealanders now have the choice of a Telecom or Vodafone mobile phone instead of a fixed-line phone, and it is Telstra Clear's own decision not to roll out a network in Auckland despite having a substantial share of the Kapiti and Wellington market. More choices are arriving with companies like Walker Wireless rolling out their own wireless broadband network, and IHUG offering a wireless and satellite-based broadband service nationwide - both competing with Telecom. Further, several companies own unused radio spectrum which can be used to develop 3G mobile phone networks. There is no argument that Telecon should give access to its own property to those not of its own choosing."

"Michael Cullen should reiterate his comments of earlier in the week," declares Wilson in conclusion. "He should tell Telstra Clear, IHUG, Slingshot, Callplus and Compass Communications quite clearly that the government will not be any party to the surrendering of Telecom's property rights."

Libertarianz supports the open telecommunications market that has existed since 1989 and Telecom's willingness to allow other telecommunications companies to interconnect at a mutually agreed price, and calls upon the government to reject local loop unbundling.

ENDS

For further information please contact: Scott Wilson Libertarianz Spokesman on Deregulation of Communications libertyscott@ihug.co.nz PO Box 5515, Lambton Quay, Wellington (021) 934384

LIBERTARIANZ - More Freedom - Less Government www.libertarianz.org.nz


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