Communications Minister Amy Adams has announced a series of high-level policy decisions on the future regulation of the telecommunications sector.
“Digital technologies are transforming the way New Zealanders live, work and do business,” Adams says.
“To help reach our 2025 broadband target and to keep our economy growing, we need the right laws in place to make sure high quality and affordable communication services are available for consumers and businesses.
“The communications sector is vastly different to the market in 2001 when the Telecommunications Act was introduced, and it’s time for our laws to catch up.”
From 2020, the Government will move to a framework for regulating copper and fibre services that is similar to the one used for utilities like electricity lines.
For Adams, this move will deliver the stability needed to support investment in high quality and affordable communications services for New Zealanders.
Key decisions include moving to a utility-style model (with ‘building blocks’ pricing) for regulating wholesale services on the copper and UFB networks, as well as considering ways to better support competition in the mobile market.
Adams says another key priority includes retaining the current ‘unbundling’ requirements to promote innovation on the UFB network from 2020, while at the same time ruling out any changes to the regulation of broadcasting infrastructure.
“The Government is making changes now to ensure there’s a sound system in place after 2019,” Adams adds.
“Changes to the regulation of fixed-line networks will provide investors with certainty and ensure consumers are protected once the UFB build contracts expire.”
Adams says the Government had ruled out making any changes to the regulation of broadcasting infrastructure.
“Consumers have access to an ever increasing selection of entertainment content online and through traditional television,” Adams adds.
“Digital convergence means the broadcasting sector is facing more competition than ever at both the retail and network level, so doesn’t warrant any regulatory intervention at this stage.
“These high-level policy decisions build on the discussion document ‘Regulating Communications for the Future’ released last year as part of the Convergence work programme.
“In coming months, we will continue the conversation with an options paper on the detailed design and implementation of the new framework.”