Commissioner doing more with the same

Budget for telecommunications commissioner questioned

The office of the Telecommunications Commission is funded by an industry levy of $7.79 million, but is it enough?

Telecommunications commissioner Ross Patterson told a TUANZ After 5s audience last week that following industry discussion over the amount his office should be paid, he undertook to run a more efficient office.

Patterson was answering a question put to him by 2degrees chief operating officer Bill McCabe who asked how his funding compared to OFCOM, the regulatory body in the UK, which he says has a budget of around $350 million.

“We said don’t reduce the levy, but what we will do is be much more efficient, in that way we can produce far more for the same amount,” he told the audience.

“That’s like turkeys voting for Christmas,” replied McCabe. “If you ask the industry whterhe the levy is appropriate where the vast majority presumably comes from incumbents who potentially have more to lose from regultation and enhanced competitoin then challengers.”

Patterson then explained that every year he presents the accounts to the Telecommuncatiosn Carriers Forum (TCF) – which 2degrees has recently rejoined.

“If you want to increase your contribution, feel free,” he told McCabe.

The telecommunications commission will undertake a five-yearly review of all 17 regulated services next year.

When the Commissioner was first appointed it was publically stated his salary is $370,000.

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