InternetNZ welcomes a fibre-focused future for telco regulation

InternetNZ has supported the Government’s proposals on telco regulation in a submission lodged on Friday.

InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter says these proposals offer a clear and simple framework for future regulation. 

“They represent a significant step towards our goal of better Internet, at fair prices, for all New Zealanders.

“Telco regulations are the ‘rules of the road’ for the infrastructure that delivers Internet services in New Zealand. The challenge for this process was to deliver clear direction on the future of those rules. The latest proposals deliver that clear direction, and will help to unlock the potential of our fast, modern fibre communications networks,” says Carter.

The Government has proposed a “utility-style” approach to regulating fibre infrastructure from 2020. This is similar to the way electricity lines  infrastructure is regulated now.

“We particularly welcome the decision to focus post-2020 regulation on fibre networks. By 2024, UFB fibre will reach 85% of New Zealanders at home and work. The proposals rightly focus on our future networks, allowing us to move beyond the limits of the old copper network,” says Carter.

Historically, copper lines were the main network delivering phone and Internet services. The post-2020 framework will allow for deregulation of copper, but only in areas where users can access more modern fibre services. Regulated copper pricing will remain in other areas, with post-2020 copper prices locked at 2019 levels.

“The only obvious downside in the proposal is that the initial product specs that will ‘anchor’ the new framework are too slow to do that job. I’m sure that officials will look at that in finalising the proposals.

“We welcome the strong measures proposed to protect users as we transition to fast, modern networks. Eventually, we think competing choices will deliver a range of good options for New Zealanders to get online,” says Carter.

InternetNZ’s submission proposes some extra measures to help realise the benefits of the proposed framework. These include:

  • continuing public investment to deliver services in the most remote areas
  • a review of resourcing for the Commerce Commission to ensure it can protect user interests under the new framework
  • a consistent process to ensure regulated fibre ‘anchor products’ remain fast enough to attract users over time.

InternetNZ’s full submission