Telco body almost ready

The Telecommunications Industry Forum, set up to provide an arena for discussion of common problems among telecomms providers, is close to being finalised. But some of the small companies in the market are unhappy with the way it has been organised.

The Telecommunications Industry Forum, set up to provide an arena for discussion of common problems among telecomms providers, is close to being finalised. But some of the small companies in the market are unhappy with the way it has been organised.

“I think we small players accepted [the terms of the forum] reluctantly because we felt we were getting nowhere [in attempting to increase small-company representation],” says Wayne Toddun, executive director of CallPlus.

The forum has been set up with a board of six, including permanent representatives of Telecom, TelstraClear and Vodafone, and a Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ) representative. The remaining two places are allocated to the half-dozen or so smaller companies by vote among themselves.

That threatens a lack of balance, Toddun says, particularly as on certain questions, like the allocation of new access codes, a unanimous vote in favour is required, so any one of the big companies has an effective veto.

The forum has been set up under the Telecommunications Act to provide a preliminary way of resolving differences before the last resort of applying to the telecommunications commissioner for a ruling.

“It looks like we’re just about there” with establishment of the forum, says Telecom government relations manager Bruce Parkes. A constitution has to be finalised and the formal procedures of establishing the body as an incorporated society must be gone through.

He would not estimate an exact date for finalisation, “but we’re very close”.

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