​UFB under spotlight as TCF proposes greater flexibility in telco review

“One of the aims of the review is to find a new regulatory framework for UFB.”

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) has submitted its response to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s discussion paper: Regulating communications for the future - Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001.

The response welcomes the review of the Telecommunications Act and agrees a new regulatory framework is required which will be appropriate to the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) centric industry environment operating post-2020.

“One of the aims of the review is to find a new regulatory framework for UFB,” says Geoff Thorn, CEO, TCF.

“The existing regulatory framework places considerable emphasis on complex and detailed cost models. As we have experienced, this approach can be expensive, time consuming and create uncertainty for the industry.

“The TCF sees the review as an opportunity for the industry to provide leadership. It is proposing the industry be allowed to develop the future product set, including price and quality standards, in the first instance.

“The industry process would include testing alignment with other key stakeholders, including government officials, and formal regulation would provide a backstop.”

According to Thorn, telecommunications industry participants are best placed to understand the nature of the growing demand from consumers and businesses, and the different technological solutions available.

“By having the flexibility to make their own commercially-based investment decisions, the TCF believes that individual companies will be better positioned to compete to deliver improved services and economic gains for New Zealand,” he adds.

The TCF notes that it has not yet defined what form an industry solution would take, and is planning to work with MBIE in the New Year to ensure it fits within the new regulatory framework.

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