Chorus welcomes NZ regulatory reform

Thursday, 10 August, 2017

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New Zealand telecommunications infrastructure firm Chorus has welcomed the government’s proposed amendments to the country’s regulatory framework.

In a statement released this week, Chorus CEO Vanessa Oakley said that the company is “pleased to see progress” on the regulatory review with the introduction of the Bill.

“It’s clear that open access fibre upgrades to the broadband infrastructure are the most efficient and effective way to futureproof New Zealand as a digital nation,” Oakley said.

“As digital infrastructure is the 4th utility, we are pleased to see progress on modernising a regulatory regime to support it and increased focus on high quality for consumers.

“Our focus will continue to be on ensuring that the regulatory framework is predictable in its implementation at 2020, reduces the level of complexity and encourages ongoing investment through a fair return and ongoing innovation for consumers on high-quality infrastructure,” she added.

The New Zealand Minister for Communications has introduced the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill into parliament, with first reading set to occur in mid-August.

The Bill proposes to:

  • provide for the development of a new utility regulation framework for fibre fixed line access services from 2020;
  • deregulate copper fixed line access services in areas where fibre services are available to consumers, while retaining regulation in areas where fibre is not available;
  • put in place consumer safeguards when copper services are to be withdrawn;
  • streamline the process for recommending regulation of services in Schedule 3 of the Act;
  • require the Commerce Commission to undertake retail service quality monitoring;
  • provide more regulatory oversight of retail service quality, associated consumer codes and dispute resolution processes in the telecommunications sector;
  • provide for technical revisions to the Telecommunications Regulatory Levy (TRL). These changes provide for consistency with the levy arrangements for utility regulation under the Commerce Act;
  • remove line-of-business restrictions for Chorus that do not add to prohibition on participation in retail, which remains in place;
  • repeal unused, unnecessary or expired provisions, and updates organisational references.

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