NZ Commerce Commission launches fibre study

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 02 May, 2018

NZ Commerce Commission launches fibre study

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has launched a new study of fibre services to help it prepare for the future regulation of fibre networks.

The study aims to give the regulator a better understanding of the fibre networks being built by Chorus and local fibre companies under the government’s Ultrafast Broadband initiative, as well as the providers’ network operations and business practices.

The New Zealand parliament is currently considering a new Bill that would amend the telecommunications regulatory framework to adopt a utility-style regime for fibre networks similar to the regime for energy networks or airports.

The new legislation would require the Commerce Commission to set upfront rules governing fibre regulation, price controls and minimum quality standards for Chorus.

It would also introduce information disclosure requirements for Chorus and the local fibre companies and potentially develop a framework for removing copper in areas where fibre services are now available.

“Implementing any new regulatory regime for fibre will be a major undertaking for the commission. It is important we take steps now to increase our understanding of the industry and inform our future work,” Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Steven Gale said.

“Starting this study now under our market studies power in the Telecommunications Act gives us a head start on gathering information from Chorus and the local fibre companies. We expect the information about fibre services to be useful regardless of the form that regulation might take.”

Meanwhile, the commission has launched a public consultation on the proposed funding for its plan to implement the new fibre network regulation.

The regulator estimates that it will cost NZ$12 million ($8.4 million) to implement the proposed regulation over a three-year period, Gale said. “We are seeking feedback on whether our plan incorporates an appropriate level of quality for this process.

“We will consider feedback before making our proposal to the government to increase the industry levy which funds our work in the telco sector.”

The NZ$7 billion Ultrafast Broadband network is expected to deliver fibre-to-the-home to 87% of the New Zealand population by the end of 2022.

Image credit: ©Péter Mács/Dollar Photo Club

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