NZ govt tables Telco Act reforms

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 08 August, 2017

NZ govt tables Telco Act reforms

The New Zealand Government has introduced a bill that would modernise New Zealand’s telecommunications regulatory framework to reflect advances in technology, consumer behaviour and business models.

The proposed amendments have been developed in consultation with the public and industry. It would introduce a more predictable utility regulation models for New Zealand’s ultrafast broadband (UFB) fibre network.

Regulators would also be granted more powers and obligations to help ensure an improved quality of services for customers.

For example, the Commerce Commission — New Zealand's equivalent to the ACCC — would be required to regularly report on retail service quality in a more accessible way and to conduct regular reviews of the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Service.

The Commission would also be empowered to develop codes to address retail service quality if industry-designed codes prove inaccurate.

In addition, where fibre is available, existing copper lines would be deregulated by 2020.

“The Bill supports the shift to fibre as the technology of choice among an increasing number of consumers, by establishing a stable and predictable framework for regulating fibre and by removing copper regulation from 2020,” New Zealand Communications Minister Simon Bridges said.

“To ensure that consumers are protected, copper will continue to be regulated outside of fibre coverage areas. Safeguards will make sure that customers do not lose their copper landline or broadband unless there is an alternative service available at a comparable price and service level.”

The proposed changes are in line with the recent decision by Australia’s ACMA to review the nbn customer experience, as well as the ACCC’s planned broadband performance monitoring program aimed at giving nbn retail service provider customers with accurate information about the real-world speeds they can expect from an nbn connection.

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