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Communications and IT briefing paper released


Communications and IT briefing paper released

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Paul Swain today released the briefing paper for the Communications and IT portfolios provided to him by the Ministry of Economic Development.

“Much work was done in these sectors to lay the foundations for future growth in the Labour-led Government’s first term,” said Mr Swain. “Now it’s important that we build on those foundations.” In the telecommunicatons sector the paper identified whether to unbundle Telecom’s local loop and whether to make the provision of telephone services in remote areas under the the Kiwi Share Obligation (KSO) contestable as key issues for this term.

Under the Telecommunications Act, the Telecommunications Commissioner is required to report to the Minister by 19 December, 2003 on unbundling the local loop. While a discussion paper on whether to make the KSO contestable is currently being prepared by the MED to obtain industry comment and provide the basis for officials’ advice on this issue.

The paper also identified the development of an updated four year programme on the allocation of radio spectrum for the provision of telecommunications and broadcasting as an important piece of work to be done this term.

In the postal sector the Government would need to consider whether to undertake a review of the regulatory regime for postal services, advised the paper.

In its first term the Labour-led Government identified Information and Communications Technologies as one of three key within the Growth and Innovation Framework. An ICT Taskforce, with policy support provided by the Ministry has been set up to promote skills, infrastructure and uptake of IT.

The paper also notes that major pieces of legislation affecting the IT sector – the Electronic Transactions Bill and the Crimes Amendment Bill No.6 – have not been passed and says it’s imperative that these are put in place.

“If this government iis to achieve its goal of lifting New Zealand into the top half of the OECD a healthy and growing ICT sector will be crucial, “ said Mr Swain. “I look forward to continuing with the good work that we have done in this area in our first term,” he said.

The briefing is available online on the beehive web site at:

http://www.beehive.govt.nz/briefings/index.cfm

Or on the Ministry of Economic Development site at:

http://www.med.govt.nz/about/bim2002/comm-it

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