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Communications Minister Simon Bridges has confirmed details of the government’s new approach to regulating fixed line communications services from 2020, and released a consultation paper which seeks feedback on the regulation of the copper network.
“We need a modern communications regime that reflects our increasingly digital world and that delivers better broadband for New Zealanders. The new regime is designed to provide long-term certainty for the sector, and to support ongoing innovation and investment. Ultimately, this will result in better services for consumers, with consistently improving broadband speeds and quality at competitive prices,” he said.
The Government released an options paper in July 2016, with details of the new ‘Utility-Style’ regime for fixed line communications services provided on the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network and Chorus’ copper network.
“We received a range of feedback from industry and consumer groups about how the new regime would work in practice and can now confirm the details of our reform package for the UFB network, which will be implemented from 2020,” Mr Bridges said.
“Following further consideration and analysis, we have decided to take a different approach to the regulation of copper services, and focus the new regulations primarily on New Zealand’s fibre network. We are seeking feedback on this proposal and on changes to the Telecommunications Service Obligation (TSO) through the consultation document released today,” he said.
In areas where UFB or other fibre is available, the government is proposing to deregulate the copper network from 2020 and remove the TSO obligation.
In areas where UFB or other fibre is not available, the TSO obligation will be retained and Chorus will be required to continue supplying copper services at prices capped at 2019 levels. This will ensure consumers continue to have access to basic services at competitive prices, even when alternative networks are not available.
Submissions on the consultation paper close on March 1, 2017. For more detail and to make a submission visit www.mbie.govt.nz/telcoreview.
Photo Caption: Simon Bridges