Monday, May 16, 2011

NZ: fibre wholesaler to be TelecomNZ - with regulator holiday for rest of decade?

This is what you call deregulation (well, there's a price cap), from the country that for a decade until 2001 pretended it did not need a telecoms regulator. Well, they barely have broadband unbundled and no cable to speak of, so perhaps their conservative government thinks it has to roll over and beg? "Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband, and Other Matters) Bill and recommended it become law, if several changes are made. The bill paves the way for the Government's $1.35 billion ultra-fast broadband scheme, which plans to lay fibre internet cables across 75 per cent of New Zealand over the next 10 years...the law would remove the Commerce Commission's ability to regulate price on the broadband network until December 31, 2019. The committee made its decision on advice from Crown officials that the forbearance would result in lower wholesale and retail prices "by removing the risk premium" for investors." No kidding it removes risk...competition...progress...
UPDATE: The indigenous Maori Party (which represents rural constituencies in the main) slammed a couple of torpedoes into the regulatory holiday in debate on 17 May - so it's not going to be allowed, thankfully for NZ consumers.