CHANGES TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFORMATION DISCLOSURE REGIME

  • Maurice Williamson
Communications

The Government has decided to make a number of changes to the information disclosure regime applied to Telecom, Communications Minister Maurice Williamson announced today.

"Among the key changes is the introduction of a requirement for Telecom to publish twice yearly separate financial statements for its 'local loop' and 'other telecommunications services' businesses," said Mr Williamson.

"Telecom will also be required to calculate and disclose the net economic cost of complying with the Kiwi Share obligations (KSO)."

The separate financial statements and information about the KSO will assist companies in their negotiations of interconnection agreements with Telecom.

Other changes to the information disclosure regime are:

* the addition of Telecom's 0800 service to the list of prescribed services about which information must be disclosed under the regime, and the deletion of international services from that list

* extending requirements for disclosure of interconnection agreements to include other documents associated with interconnection agreements and forming a material part of those agreements

"These changes follow the release of a discussion paper on the telecommunications information disclosure regime in November last year.

"A total of 12 submissions on the discussion paper were received by the Ministry of Commerce, including six from telecommunications companies operating in New Zealand."

With the exception of Telecom, submissions from the telecommunications companies supported the major changes to the regime.

The changes will come into effect on 1 January 2000 following the preparation of regulations giving effect to the changes.

This will allow the first set of financial statements and KSO information to be available for the negotiation of interconnection agreements which expire at the end of the year 2000.

"The changes to the information disclosure regime do not represent a departure from the current light-handed regulatory environment, but seek to make the current regime more effective," said Mr Williamson.

"There has been considerable reduction in prices and the introduction of new services in the sector since its deregulation.

"But it's important to maintain this momentum through further competitive entry, competitive pricing and service innovation."

"These changes, together with the Number Administration Deed to address numbering issues and the changes to the Commerce Act - completes delivery on the three key issues I signalled some time ago the Government would address to ensure consumers continued to benefit from lower prices and innovative new services in the telecommunications sector."