Government releases Telecommunications Bill Supplementary Order Paper

  • Paul Swain
Communications and Information Technology

Communications Minister Paul Swain has released a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) that contains the government’s proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Bill considered by the Commerce Select Committee.

He said the SOP contains a number of amendments principally incorporating the recommendations of the government members of the select committee.

Key issues include:
·Strengthening the wholesaling regime by including residential (price capped) services
·Specification of mobile roaming and co-location
·Specification of co-location at BCL’s sites
·Aligning the purpose clause with the Commerce Act
·Listing matters that may be considered by road owners in setting reasonable conditions on the work of telecommunications network operators on roads.

Paul Swain said that the national roaming regime had to balance the rights of the incumbent with the need to ensure that a new entrant could compete effectively.

“Consequently the Telecommunications Commissioner will need to set milestones for infrastructure roll out by the access seeker and will need to be convinced that the access seeker is a viable organisation.

"The Commissioner will be required to take into account any capacity constraints on the incumbent's network.

“More importantly, roaming will not be granted till the access seeker has met at least a 10% national coverage threshold. This will ensure that only serious new entrants will be considered for roaming access.

“These conditions go some way to meeting the concerns of Vodafone.

“Specification of co-location is designed to promote competition, and in BCL’s case, to foster the provision of broadband wireless services in New Zealand.

“Other issues in the SOP are largely technical matters, including clarifying and strengthening the wholesaling provisions.

“The Telecommunications Bill and the SOP are the final phase of two years work, and are a major step forward towards a better competitive environment in the telecommunications industry.

“In the end, consumers should be the winners.

“I expect that the Bill will be passed by Christmas. The Telecommunications Commissioner will be announced also by Christmas,” Paul Swain said.