New Zealand ISPs will soon have a second option of the wholesale DSL Unbundled Bitstream Service available — if they haven't already been locked into the commercial service the telco is currently promoting.
The bitstream service Telecom recently unveiled is not the same as the regulated service that the Commerce Commission will define. The commission's network access group manager, Osmond Borthwick, says he understands the regulated service will come into force early September.
“The regulated service has some different characteristics to the UBS service currently offered by Telecom," Borthwick says, "particularly in relation to the downstream speeds available to wholesale customers." Unlike Telecom, which modelled its UBS on the existing Jetstream Surf 1GB plan, Borthwick says "the [regulated] service is not specifically linked to a Telecom retail product (as is the case for resale).”
Hinting at a willingness to intervene in contractual disputes for the regulated service, Borthwick says “the Commission can set commercial terms for the service if they can't be agreed between the parties.”
Telecom Wholesale service Gerard Linstrom concedes that there will be a regulated offering and a commercial UBS offering available to the market at the same time.
“The regulatory framework under which Telecom operates encourages commercial outcomes over regulated ones,” Linstrom says.
He adds that “Telecom has designed a [UBS] service that meets the requirements of our commercial customers and can be implemented relatively quickly. We have made a number of changes to our UBS product in response to customer feedback, so we are confident that it meets a real commercial need.”
Asked if providers are allowed to switch from Telecom’s UBS to the regulated service, Linstrom replies that the Telecommunications Act "precludes" an ISP "from seeking a determination for a service while they have a commercial contract for supply of that service currently in force.”
ISPs who sign up for the Telecom's "commercial" service may find their contracts prevent them from switching to the regulated service when it is released, sources, say.