Unbundling a solution for the last century, says Telecom

Unbundling is a solution to a problem that is rapidly disappearing, says Telecom's general manager for government relations, Bruce Parkes.

Unbundling is a solution to a problem that is rapidly disappearing, says Telecom's general manager for government relations, Bruce Parkes.

Parkes is responding to the telecommunications commissioner's release of a discussion paper on unbundling of the local loop (ULL), something which Parkes says would have been a major issue in the last decade but now is being usurped by another government initiative, Project Probe.

"Project Probe is giving us competition at the local level. Whether it's Walker Wireless or BCL or whoever building a wireless network, it's competition for the local loop."

Parkes says the countries where broadband has taken off are those with competition from another network rather than within a single network.

"You look at Canada or the US or Korea and there's a cable network that offers true competition. In New Zealand there's no competing network to drive uptake, but we're starting to see them emerge."

Parkes expects the commissioner to look closely at the successes of Project Probe and at the current wholesaling regime before deciding to go with unbundling.

"Our wholesale regime is far more extensive than most other nations'. It's more extensive than Australia, and the commissioner had to look to the US for comparison which should tell you something."

Parkes says he would expect unbundling only to be applied in those areas where competition is not already rife.

"The government is quite happy with the mobile market because there are two strongly competitive players there with networks to match. So there's no need for regulation.

The same rule should be applied to the fixed line network."

Parkes says with Project Probe likely to deliver the beginnings of a national network to compete with the local loop, he would suggest there is no need to unbundle services any longer.

"Unbundling belongs in the 1990s."

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