Commerce Commission says Spark voice resale should be deregulated

The Commerce Commission has decided that Spark’s resale voice services should be deregulated, saying there are now sufficient competitive alternatives available.

The Commerce Commission has decided that Spark’s resale voice services should be deregulated, saying there are now sufficient competitive alternatives available.

It has released a draft report for consultation indicating its intention to make this recommendation to the minister for communications.

Spark’s resale voice services enable other retail service providers (RSPs) to rebrand and on-sell fixed line phone services delivered on Spark’s network. The Telecommunications Act gives the Commission the ability to specify terms for the services but, it says, this has not been required to date.

Telecommunications Commissioner, Dr Stephen Gale, said alternative providers included Chorus, local fibre companies and fixed wireless operators offer wholesale voice services. “Broadband networks now cover 97 percent of commercial and residential landlines and provide competitive alternatives for delivering voice services.

“The remaining three percent are mainly remote voice-only customers where Spark is the sole fixed line wholesale provider. However, for the majority of these remote lines, RSPs can use fixed wireless services from either the Rural Broadband Initiative or based on extended mobile networks.

He added: “A small number of outstanding consumers that can access voice-only lines are protected by a separate regulated price cap. Given this, our view is we should remove the resale services from the Act.”

Submissions to the draft report close on Monday 17 October and cross-submissions on Wednesday 26 October. A public conference to discuss the Commission’s view and submissions will be held on 1 November. The Commission expects to provide its final recommendation to the communications minister in January 2017.

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