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Telecom Says Commerce Com. Action Out Of Step

Telecom Says Commerce Commission Action Out Of Step

Telecom today said the Commerce Commission’s decision now to take proceedings against the introduction of its 0867 service in mid 1999 is totally out of step with current developments in this sector of the telecommunications market.

Manager Industry Services Greg McAlister said such proceedings would rake up history and undermine the Telecommunications Inquiry process which Telecom and other industry players fully supports.

“It flies in the face of progress made towards commercial resolution of differences between companies with an interest in 0867,” Mr McAlister said.

“Telecom has acted throughout to support a highly competitive market. Before introducing 0867 to help manage New Zealand’s rapid growth in Internet traffic, we took expert legal advice,” he said.

“We will vigorously defend any proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission. Telecom has always taken its legal obligations very seriously.

“Given recent developments within the industry, the Commission’s actions are extremely unhelpful. Telecom has recently reached an agreement with Telstra Saturn over this issue which goes a long way towards dealing with the distortions caused by the dramatic growth in Internet traffic.

“Telecom is in discussions with a range of other players. The industry is working hard to resolve the issues and we are making good progress.

“Telecom is surprised and disappointed that the Commission has seen fit to take such proceedings without consultation. We would expect some dialogue before it decided to issue proceedings and we’re disappointed the Commission has chosen no alternative way to resolve the issue.”

Mr McAlister said ideally the issues should be resolved in a different way. “What we are suggesting to the Telecommunications Inquiry demonstrates the need for industry-based processes.

“It is unsatisfactory to have this kind of enforcement a year after the event. The Commission is very much behind the game.”

Mr McAlister said Telecom remained convinced it had acted properly and in the best interests of customers.

Telecom introduced 0867 as a technical solution to the huge growth in residential internet traffic on our network. 0867 was also designed to counter the unsustainable and distorting commercial practices related to that traffic. Interconnect agreements were agreed before the internet was in use.

Greg McAlister and Acting General Counsel Ken Stephen will be available today to answer media questions at: 3 pm, level 8, North Tower, Telecom Networks House. An audio conference facility will be available for those who cannot attend in person. The number is 083-033 and the Pin is 194-781#


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