Co-location On Cellular Transmission Sites
Standard Terms Process For Co-location On Cellular Transmission Sites
The Commission has today launched a standard terms development process to determine the non-price elements of co-location of a mobile operators equipment on another operator’s transmission site. Co-location allows the mobile equipment of a network operator to be installed on another operator’s tower. This can reduce the costs associated with the setting up of cell sites by sharing facilities between network operators.
The Commission foreshadowed its intention to engage on the standard terms process in its final report the Minister on the regulation of co-location services sent on 14 December 2007. Its recommendations were accepted by the Minister on 18 December 2007.
The Commission will conduct a scoping workshop on the co-location service on 31 January 2008, to which all interested parties will be invited. After the workshop, the Commission will issue a notice to an access provider(s) to submit a standard terms proposal for the supply of the service. Following consultation on the proposal, the Commission will set non-price terms for the supply of this service.
On 22 December 2006, the relevant provisions of the Telecommunications Amendment Act (No 2) 2006 came into force. The entirely new subpart 2A of the Act enables the Commission to make, as an alternative to bilateral access determinations, a determination on which a designated access or specified service must be supplied with reference to all access seekers and access providers of the service. Such a determination is referred to as a standard terms determination. Section 30C
provides that the Commission
may, on its own initiative, initiate the standard terms
development process for any of the designated or specified
services within the Act.
Section 30D requires that the Commission give public notice of the standard terms process. It is also required, under section 30E, to conduct 1 or more scoping workshops in relation to the designated or specified services. The purpose of a scoping workshop is to provide the Commission with information to assist it in specifying the period of time within which an access provider must submit a standard terms proposal, and any additional requirements for that proposal.
Section 30F sets out that after the scoping workshop the Commission must give written notice to 1 or more access providers of the service requiring them to submit to the Commission, by the date specified in the notice, a standard terms proposal that complies with section 30G. The access provider must comply with this request. If the access provider does not comply with the request, section 30H provides that the Commission may either request another access provider or access seeker to submit a proposal, or prepare a draft standard terms determination even though it has not received a standard terms proposal.
Upon receipt of a standard terms proposal the Commission is required under section 30I to give notice of the proposal and specify a date for submissions on the proposal. After the consultation round, the Commission must then prepare a draft standard terms determination in accordance with section 30K. The draft standard terms determination must include both price and non-price terms. The Commission must request submissions on the draft determination. Section 30L sets out that if the Commission considers that persons other than the parties to the determination have a material interest in a standard terms determination, it must consult those persons or hold a conference in relation to the matter.
After completing consultation on the draft standard terms determination, the Commission must prepare a final standard terms determination that includes all the matters set out in section 30O and the additional matters set out in 30P where appropriate. Most importantly, a standard terms determination must specify sufficient terms to allow, without the need for the access seeker to enter into an agreement with the access provider, the designated access service or specified service to be made available within the specified timeframe.