Complaint laid with ComCom about RBI

Telecom and Vodafone bid under continued scrutiny

A complaint has been lodged with the Commerce Commission about Telecom and Vodafone’s joint bid for the Rural Broadband Initiative.

The commission hasn’t confirmed who made the complaint but Computerworld understands it is the Regional Fibre Group.

A commission spokesperson says initial information has been gathered but given the possibility that the joint bid will be exempted from the Commerce Act, the commission is not now actively investigating the complaint.

The spokesperson says, however, that the commission will revisit the issue if the exemption does not proceed.

The exemption is contained in the proposed changes to the Telecommunications Act 2001. A recent supplementary order paper (SOP) contains a statutory authorisation for Telecom and Vodafone’s joint bid for the RBI and any contract entered into between them and the Crown to provide funding for the initiative.

The authorisation would have the effect of exempting the arrangement from key restrictive trade practice provisions of the Commerce Act.

The commission spokesperson notes that the Ministry of Economic Development is the ministry responsible for the SOP.

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