Telecommunications Act Review

The Government is currently undertaking a review of the Telecommunications Act 2001, looking at the underlying regulatory settings for communications markets.

It aims to ensure New Zealand has the right regulatory framework for communications networks from 2020, to meet the needs of consumers and businesses, and to help keep our economy growing.

The Commission is expected to implement the new regime. We are working collaboratively with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to help them with policy and implementation matters. We have seconded a few staff members to MBIE as part of our commitment to provide support to the Ministry.

A ‘utility-style’ regulatory framework for fixed line communications services is being proposed. This is a style of regulation we are very familiar with through our work in Part 4 of the Commerce Act, which applies to electricity transmission and distribution, gas pipelines and our three largest airports.

The Government’s proposals would involve the application of information disclosure and price-quality regulation for Chorus’ Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) services after 2020. The Government also proposes continued regulation on a small proportion of Chorus’ copper network after 2020. The other providers of UFB services would only initially be subject to information disclosure requirements, similar to those that airports are required to provide.

The latest stage in the review is a consultation paper which focuses on the proposed approach for the regulation of the fixed line services. Submissions on this paper closed on 3 March.

Given the proposed timing, planning is already underway at the Commission. With a regime change there will be a significant amount of work to be done. The Commission has extensive skills and experience in both Part 4 regulation and telecommunications which puts us in a strong position to effectively implement changes.

We look forward to engaging with industry after legislation is passed and we expect to have wider interest from other industries as well.