Update on future fibre regulation

On Wednesday 2 May, the Commission’s Fibre Regulation and wider Telecommunications team held a stakeholder workshop on our approach to future fibre regulation.

The purpose of the workshop was to build strong relationships with key stakeholders in the telecommunications industry ahead of the passing of the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

The workshop was well attended by a broad range of representatives from the telecommunications industry, with Chorus, the three Local Fibre Companies, Spark, Vodafone, 2Degrees, and a number of other retail service providers all taking the opportunity to have their voices heard. We were also pleased to have representatives from Consumer NZ, the Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ), Telecommunications Forum (TCF), lawyers, consultants, investment analysts, and regulated businesses from the electricity sector.

The Commission’s head of Fibre Regulation Vanessa Howell said the workshop was a good opportunity for industry players to meet the Commission team they will be dealing with over the next few years as we implement fibre regulation.

Topics covered in the workshop included our study into fibre services under the existing Telecommunications Act, how we plan to consult with stakeholders through the process of implementing the regulatory regime, and the proposed cost of the work.

We would like to thank those who attended and for the positive feedback which has followed. We hope to maintain a high level of engagement to make the process as collaborative and transparent as possible. Any issues or feedback on the workshop can be sent to Fibre team at telcofibre@comcom.govt.nz.

More details on funding for future fibre regulation can be found here.

More details on our study to improve our understanding of future services ahead of future regulation can be found here.

Background on the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill

The proposed legislation would introduce a utility-style regulatory regime, similar to what exists for energy networks and airports, for fibre networks being rolled out as part of the Government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative. The legislation would require the Commission to set upfront rules and develop information disclosure requirements for Chorus and local fibre companies. The Commission would also set the maximum revenue that network operator Chorus could charge its customers and the quality of service it must provide.

The Bill also includes consumer provisions to improve retail service quality. It will require the Commission to specifically monitor retail service quality and provide consumer-friendly information to help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also allow us to create mandatory retail service quality codes if industry led codes are ineffective, and require us to systematically review the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Service.