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TUANZ releases Issues Paper for Telco Review

10th August 2015

TUANZ MEDIA RELEASE

TUANZ releases Issues Paper for Telco Review

TUANZ (The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand) has today published on its website a paper which lists the issues it suggests should be covered in the upcoming review of the Telecommunications Act by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). “We provided this list to MBIE earlier this year and we have released it today in line with our principles of positive leadership and providing credible contributions to debate around the issues” said the CEO of TUANZ, Craig Young.

“Our focus is on helping New Zealand make the most of the digitally connected world and so we are more interested in the outcomes of any review for users rather than specific details. To help with this we have suggested a high level list of specific issues we believe are critical to the continued development of our connected economy” Mr Young said.

Mr Young says that TUANZ is supportive of the current market structure and are keen to see it allow such things as structural separation to fully bed in. TUANZ supports incremental change as required to this structure in the period covered by the review which is the post 2020 environment. This period will be featured as one where fibre services would be the predominant new fixed-connection type given the Government UFB project would be completed and the Crown Fibre contracted fibre pricing would cease to apply. Wireless technology is also likely to be advanced enough to offer reasonable competition to fixed services.

The summary list of issues that TUANZ consider are important to be debated is as follows:

We should have an aim of ensuring we continue to have a world leading communications network supporting our economic growth and social development
Our services must be competitive with like nations given we are increasingly competing in a global market
Funding of user groups to enable credible input should be considered similar to the Australian model in regards to Government funding of ACANN (Australian Communications Consumer Action Network)
The need for a TSO and the services included post 2020 should be debated. Questions of its applicability, its application to which market participants, and whether it should include any minimum standards of service performance should be included in the review.
Urban and Rural planners need to consider Telecommunications as a basic infrastructure along with roads and water. We strongly suggest that it should be considered that the provision of these services be a mandatory planning requirement.
Fair and sustainable competition at the service level should be the focus to encourage continued investment in infrastructure. One of the key planks of any regulatory framework must be to balance the requirement to deliver fair competition for end users, but also to ensure the investment engine is sustained.
The continued convergence of service delivery over telecommunications infrastructure should lead to a review of the alignment of regulation and regulator of the sectors. The aim should be to ensure end-customers see increased choice and competition on how they receive content.
The question of de-commissioning the urban copper networks should be a discussion so that post 2020 we encourage continued uptake of the new connectivity options, but also to reduce the cost overhead on the network owners.
The Product disclosure regime needs to be tightened up. Whilst the TCF has made valuable progress in this regard, we believe the continued development of a standardised disclosure regime would assist users to make informed choices.
Independent dispute resolution should be mandated or at least heavily encouraged. The current dispute resolution service is a voluntary process and works reasonably well within its remit but TUANZ is of the view that the possibility of making membership of some such scheme compulsory should be considered as part of gaining the right to operate as an RSP.

Two other issues are included in the paper but are subject already to proposals included around the extension of the Nation Environmental Standards and the Land Access for Telecommunications discussion paper released by MBIE.

Mr Young said “The issues raised are indicative of our early thoughts on the items that should be canvassed through the review process but are unlikely to be exhaustive. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government and the ICT industry on this and more generally on ensuring NZ businesses are able to make the most of the digitally connected economy."

The full paper can be found here: http://tuanz.org.nz/representation/

Ends

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