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Coalition Seeks Dialogue with Government on UFB

Coalition Seeks Dialogue with Government on UFB

The Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing has today asked to meet with Communications & IT Minister Amy Adams to discuss what constructive role it can play to help support the building and take up of the government’s ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative.

The coalition was responding to an announcement by Ms Adams this morning that she has been briefed by EY Australia on the firm’s initial assessment of the financial position of Chorus Ltd, which is building the majority of the UFB.

“The Government has no stronger supporter of its UFB initiative than the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing and we represent a very wide cross section of Kiwis with an interest in its successful roll out,” a spokeswoman for the coalition, Sue Chetwin, also chief executive of Consumer NZ, said today.

“Now that parliament has decided not to proceed with a copper tax, we want to do all we can to help get UFB built as fast, as cheaply and as comprehensively as possible so that all Kiwi households and businesses can benefit from it.

“It would be useful to meet with the minister and EY Australia as soon as possible to learn of its preliminary conclusions and we also urge the minister to release the draft EY work as soon as possible.

“Transparency is vital to achieve broad public and industry support for the next steps that have to be taken to fast-track the UFB. The UFB is just too important to get wrong.”

Ms Chetwin said the coalition would also like to discuss with the minister apparent misunderstandings about the impact of a cut to prices for copper broadband and voice services in the monopoly wholesale market on prices in the highly competitive retail market.

“Today, there are nearly 50 retail service providers (RSPs), including the two giants, Telecom and Vodafone. While the wholesale market is a monopoly and is therefore regulated by the independent Commerce Commission, the consumer market is highly competitive.

“As a result, real telecommunications prices have fallen by 34% since the Telecommunications Act 2001, while quality has dramatically improved.

“With two mid-sized RSPs having already announced they will pass the wholesale prices cuts to consumers, there is no doubt that the prices Kiwi households and businesses will pay will fall as a result of parliament’s decision last week.

“Now that the copper tax is dead, Kiwi consumers will benefit from cheaper broadband under all scenarios.”

ENDS

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