Clarified: ComCom issues draft VDSL ruling

Regulator takes wait and see approach to VDSL

The Commerce Commission has issued a draft ruling on how Telecom can deliver superfast VDSL services, saying Telecom is allowed to use VDSL to deliver wholesale bitstream services with higher quality specifications than the regulated service, and can offer these services commercially.

Unbundled bitstream access is a regulated wholesale service that allows telecommunications companies to supply a range of broadband services to retail customers.


See also: Telecom accelerates rollout of superfast DSL
The draft decision follows a request last year by Telecom for clarification of how the regulations under the Telecommunications Act deal with VDSL, a very high bit-rate DSL service, which can deliver much higher broadband speeds than existing ADSL2+ technology.

“The commission could carry out a review to determine whether the commercial service should be added to the regulated service. However, VDSL technology is in its infancy in New Zealand. The commission’s preferred approach is to observe the performance of commercial VDSL services in the market and only undertake a formal review under the Telecommunications Act if competition concerns emerge,” says Patterson in a statement.

“In reaching this view, the commission has been mindful of ensuring that incentives for investment in new DSL technologies are maintained, as such innovation is likely to provide significant long term benefits to consumers in the New Zealand telecommunications market.”

Clarification of two aspects of the regulated bitstream service would be appropriate, the commission says. These relate to the notice requirements when Telecom wishes to introduce a new bitstream variant, and a process to exclude retail plans based on commercial wholesale variants when calculating the price of the regulated services.

The commission is seeking submissions from interested parties by 5pm on Friday 5 March 2010.

At its results meeting last week Telecom flagged rulings on VDSL regulation as key to its plans to rollout the technology.

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