RCR Wireless Asia | April 12, 2011 | Sandra Cuya
This week TUANZ, Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand, sent a letter to the New Zealand government concerning the ultra-fast broadband proposal. TUANZ is made up of large organizations and small businesses who depend on telecommunications technology such as government agencies, universities, IT vendors, carriers, and financial institutions. TUANZ wrote on behalf of their members and consumer groups who are concerned over the legislation that would build a network of fibre optic cables to homes throughout New Zealand. However the group is concerned about the legislations creating a monopoly and the effect it will have on their members and consumers. Below are highlights from the letter:
“In its present form, this Bill:
· Robs New Zealanders of choice, and traps them into unregulated broadband services with no oversight for 10 years. In our view the regulatory holiday should be scrapped or substantially modified and the consumers’ champion – the Commerce Commission – should be allowed to do its job.
· Increases prices by over 20% for all urban consumers whose broadband is carried over copper telephone lines. For the next six years the bulk of New Zealand’s voters will be using the existing copper lines for their broadband and the Bill makes unnecessary changes to the regulatory regime which is only now starting to bring about a competitive market.
· Allows Telecom to create a new wholesale monopoly when it separates into two businesses. In our view, there must be more checks and balances on how Telecom separates and the new monopoly that is created.
Consumers and industry agree that this Bill needs to be improved. Papers obtained under the Official Information Act reveal that the Commerce Commission shares this view and has advised that there are “substantial risks to competition”.”