Telco Act review demands careful thought

12 July 2016

InternetNZ has welcomed today's release by the Government of an options paper on the regulatory settings that are being considered for telecommunications pricing. It will be analysing the proposal thoroughly over the next few weeks, and will file a submission in response.

"The Telecommunications Act affects almost all New Zealanders - its rules are a critical part in setting the cost of broadband services in New Zealand," says InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter.

"With Internet access an ever more important feature of people's lives, and vital to New Zealand's economic prospects, it's very important to get these settings right.

"InternetNZ stands for all New Zealanders being able to access and share in the benefits of the Internet.

"This Review has to deliver a regulatory framework that guarantees fair prices for fast broadband. It also has to guarantee certainty for what these prices will be after 2020. Consumers and businesses deserve nothing less."

InternetNZ will be analysing today's announcement to see how it delivers on this goal.

The Government's options paper considers the merits of "utility-style" regulation for telecommunications. This is intended to be a similar regime to that used for electricity pricing in New Zealand.

"Within the high level announcements, there's a lot of detail needed - and that detail will determine whether the revised Act leads to households spending excessive amounts on broadband, or whether it strikes the right balance in protecting consumer interests.

"Major issues we identified earlier were the difficulty in regulating mobile and fixed services and urban and rural services. The utilities style approach of electricity does not have such complexity and we will be interested to see how these issues are taken into account.

"There's a lot of detail to consider, and we encourage all concerned parties to take the time to consider that detail carefully. That's what InternetNZ will be doing," Jordan Carter says.

ENDS

Submissions on the options paper close on 19 August 2016. For more detail and to make a submission visit: www.mbie.govt.nz/telcoreview.