Communications Minister David Cunliffe has called for a fundamental review of the Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO), also known as the Kiwi Share, which requires Telecom to meet specified government social objectives.
Issues to be addressed include performance metrics, the lack of openness to contestable entry and low minimum bandwidth speed requirements.
At a meeting of the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) today, Cunliffe questioned whether the rural service aspect of the TSO should be made contestable and technology neutral and whether it should be upgraded to cover basic broadband.
“A key conclusion that has emerged from the government TSO review is that reform of the Local Service TSO has to be 'back to basics'. Industry feedback has made clear that the existing arrangements for the local service TSO are seen as clumsy, time-consuming and an expensive tax on entrants,” he said in a statement released this afternoon.
Opposition spokesman Maurice Williamson says a review is "certainly well overdue".
"The TSO had its place in the 1990s with privatisation and when there was only one operator," he says. However, with the emergence of new technologies the old paradigms are "exploding before our very eyes", Williamson says.
Cunliffe says it was his intention to bring the policy review phase of the TSO review to a conclusion before the election.