Lawyer untangles Telecomms Act

ISPs that opted for commercial UBS deal can still influence process, Wigley says

Smaller ISPs may have shot their bolt in deciding to accept Telecom’s commercial Unbundled Bitstream Service — effectively shutting them out from requesting a determination of conditions from the Telecommunications Commissioner — but they can still influence the characteristics of a regulated UBS by supporting TelstraClear’s application for a determination, says a Wellington IT lawyer.

In a note published on his firm’s website, Michael Wigley points out that TelstraClear’s move “is the first time that an application has drilled down to the real detail of a service such as latency, jitter, provisioning times, operational support systems to be provided by Telecom, KPIs, SLAs, value-added services such as static IP addresses, and so on.

“Much of this detail is particularly important for ISPs,” Wigley writes. “Therefore, this application by TelstraClear in respect of UBS is particularly significant and should be strongly supported by ISPs, whose interests largely align on this application with TelstraClear’s.

“There is a lot that ISPs can do. The application has big and multimillion-dollar implications for ISPs and others and ISPs should benefit even if, as the legislation encourages, TelstraClear does a deal on UBS with Telecom.”

The Commerce Commission and InternetNZ, in their cross-submissions to the MED’s.request for input on Telecommunications Act reform, point out the benefits of sharing of information among applicants, which would reduce the workload of a determination involving several applicants and encourage a more consistent decision. Wigley’s suggestion appears effectively another way of encouraging such an outcome.

“One of the reasons why the Commission did not recommend unbundling of the data network, beyond the limited UBS service, was Telecom’s announcement that it would provide to other suppliers a data tail service which is called Unbundled Partial Circuits,” Wigley says. However, he adds, some users expressed dissatisfaction with the terms on which Telecom provided this service. The Commerce Commission is now taking Telecom to court on the point, citing, not the Telecommunications Act, but the Commerce Act. The two Acts complement each other, Wigley notes.

The report considers a number of other matters in the telecommunications determination area, from TSO to number portability. Wigley says he intends the document as a concise guide to improve understanding of these matters among organizations who may be able to make a contribution to the process that will benefit them and their customers.

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