NZ telcos slam fiber project legislation

Dylan Bushell-Embling
12 Apr 2011

New Zealand's telecom industry has lashed out at proposed legislation behind the nation's Ultrafast Broadband project, stating it will drive up prices and only increase Telecom NZ's market power.

A group of operators, as well as consumer groups including the Telecom Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) have signed a letter sent to local MPs in protest of the bill to set the terms of the fiber network project.

The group includes Vodafone NZ, TelstraClear, Kordia/Orcon and 2degrees, some of the largest companies in the local telecom market beside Telecom NZ.

The signatories argued that the legislation as it stands would increase broadband prices for urban consumers by over 20%.

The bill would leave the UFB - a planned wholesale-only fiber network that will cover the 75% of the population that lives in metro areas - without regulatory oversight for 10 years, the letter adds.

While the government plans to force Telecom NZ to structurally separate before it can participate, the signatories argue that the legislation as it stands would simply allow Telecom NZ to create a new wholesale monopoly once it splits into retail and wholesale divisions.

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