Cunliffe sees bright future for New Zealand broadband

Expect to see results much sooner than originally thought, says minister

The minister of communications, David Cunliffe, sees a bright future ahead of the country once the new telco regime is rolled out.

"In the past I have cautioned against unrealistic expectations, noting that full implementation could take until 2007/2008. Today I wish to make clear that the government has heard calls to minimise any delays and the resulting uncertainties in the market, and is determined to accelerate the change process," says Cunliffe.

Cunliffe was speaking at the seventh Tele.Con conference in Auckland yesterday. He said he was heartened by Telecom's offer of an accounting separation package, but would be discussing it further with his officials before acting upon it.

Cunliffe also outlined his newly introduced Telecommunications Amendment Bill, which contains a number of significant changes to the current Telecommunications Act, including allowing companies to seek a regulated service while simultaneously taking up a commercial offer and introducing penalties for non-compliance. The Commerce Commission will be allowed to "clarify" its rulings should any particular decision be questioned.

The bill also requires the commission to monitor competition in various telco markets. The commission will also report back to government on New Zealand's uptake rate and summaries of relevant information will be made publicly available.

"I expect that in 2015 we will no longer be talking about 'broadband' at all. The size of the pipe will not matter, as it will be taken for granted. Connectivity will be ubiquitous", says Cunliffe.

The conference continues today.

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