Clear proposes unbundling, cost-based interconnect

The unbundling of Telecom's local loop network is at the core of the Clear Communications submission to the ministerial telecommunications inquiry, to be released today.

The unbundling of Telecom's local loop network is at the core of the Clear Communications submission to the ministerial telecommunications inquiry, to be released today.

Clear's massive 460-page submission also follows those of several other parties - including Telecom - in seeking a revamp of the Kiwi Share's universal service component. Clear proposes a new system "based on the needs of tomorrow rather than those of 1989" to which "all operators would contribute to it on a fair and proportional basis."

The thrust of Clear's submission, however, is on unbundling, "to promote innovation and the deployment of advanced, high bandwidth data services"; interconnection with Telecom's national local network "on terms no less favourable than offered by the incumbent to itself"; and full disclosure of Telecom's costs to facilitate cost-based supply.

Clear also seeks an industry-specific regulator and "genuine number portability".

In a statement released overnight, Clear looks forward to "the competitive market of 2005," where consumers will access information through a wide variety of devices which could readily swap between networks. In Clear's vision, usinesses would rely on high-bandwidth networks to outsource complex and expensive applications, such as database management.

"Our proposals are aimed at getting the basics right so that all suppliers can get on with the job of bringing New Zealanders the benefits of new telecommunications technologies," said chief executive Tim Cullinane. "The evidence is that we are lagging behind our main trading partners in terms of both price and innovation. It's not too late for the country to catch up."

Cullinane said Clear's proposal focused on allowing new entrants access to all customers, and establishing a regulator with industry-specific rules and a mandate to enforce them.

He said Clear's proposed framework relied on competition first and regulation only where necessary. It would be a "stripped down" version of overseas models designed to deliver workable solutions quickly and efficiently.

"New Zealand is in the unique position of designing a framework from the ground up because, to date, there has been absolutely no industry-specific regulations. That means we can learn from overseas experience and apply the best aspects of their models to the New Zealand industry. That is what will deliver real benefits to New Zealand consumers, and what we are proposing to the Inquiry team."

The submission will posted posted along with other on the ministerial inquiry Website at http://www.teleinquiry.govt.nz

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