The government has committed telecommunications commissioner Douglas Webb to providing a report on the pros and cons of unbundling the local phone loop before the end of next year.
Local loop unbundling (LLU) was one of the options to be considered by the commissioner, as recommended by the Telecomms Inquiry at the end of 2000 and accepted by the government, if wholesaling did not provide the competition expected.
In June last year Swain said early consideration of unbundling would be an unacceptable load to put on the commissioner in his or her first days in the job, as overseas experience suggests it absorbs all available resources. The commissioner’s priorities should be interconnection regimes and number portability, Swain said. The large LLU question should be left for later. And so it has been.
“The commissioner must report to me by the end of 2003, with his review to begin no earlier than 19 December 2002,” IT minister Paul Swain told last week’s Telecommunications Summit in Wellington. The report will consider whether the benefits are more or less than the costs of LLU, “and whether it will be good for the economy”.
Swain also referred to the rural broadband projects, saying that 110 interested parties had requested copies of the request for information on the 14 regional projects. The deadline for reply has been slightly extended, to September 9, “as a number of companies were finding it difficult to meet the tight timeframes [originally set out]”.