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InternetNZ welcomes Commerce Commission UBS

20 December 2005

InternetNZ welcomes Commerce Commission UBS

"An excellent result for New Zealand, which should lead to a better national roll-out of faster, cheaper broadband. We warmly congratulate the Commission on this decision," is InternetNZ President Colin Jackson's response to today's Determination by the Commerce Commission on TelstraClear’s application to access the Unbundled Bitstream Service.

"InternetNZ has represented the voice of users in the debates before the Commission throughout the year. We have invested over $100,000 on behalf of Internet users in seeking a successful outcome to this regulatory process.

"We have argued throughout that the UBS is a component of an Internet service, and as such should be provided to any access seeker in an unconstrained manner.

"The Determination released today meets this requirement. The Commission's view lines up with our own. The UBS is to be supplied to TelstraClear at a single price point (around $27 per month) and at the maximum technically feasible speed on any given line.

"By taking this approach, the Determination ensures that TelstraClear will have maximum flexibility in providing a broad range of price/service/speed combinations, without reference to Telecom's existing retail offerings or any downstream speed restrictions imposed by regulation.

"While this Determination only applies to TelstraClear, I am sure that other companies will seek access to the UBS on the same basis, which would make the whole market more competitive," Colin Jackson said.

"Telecom's arguments that an unconstrained downstream speed threatens access to broadband by some users are not accepted as a reason to constrain the service – either by the Commission or by InternetNZ. Telecom already offers unconstrained services on its network, and there is no separate risk created by allowing TelstraClear to do the same.

"Our position of 22nd in the OECD proves that high prices and low speed services to date have limited the public's appetite for broadband Internet access. This Determination through delivering stronger competition will see lower prices and faster, better services for all.

"This is one small but significant step forward for the Internet in New Zealand, and InternetNZ welcomes it. New Zealand still suffers the slowest broadband in the world. I hope the next step may be to remove the 128kbps uplink limit in the regulated service – the next obvious way to improve broadband services.

"We urgently need to take New Zealand up the OECD broadband rankings. We are disappointed that Telecom may choose to further delay access to better broadband by challenging this determination in the Courts. New Zealand is already way behind the mark internationally for uptake of broadband, and Telecom's opposition to this determination is not in the best interests of New Zealand and its economy.

"We welcome Telecom’s stated ambition to secure better broadband uptake, and urge Telecom to see this Determination as a step forward in the process of delivering this for New Zealanders, and not take legal steps to further delay its implementation," concluded Colin Jackson.

ENDS


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