Telco Review sets new direction for regulating broadband and phone services

  • Amy Adams

Communications Minister Amy Adams today 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. 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,” says Ms Adams.

“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.

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
  • Considering ways to better support competition in the mobile market
  • Retaining the current ‘unbundling’ requirements to promote innovation on the UFB network from 2020
  • 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. Changes to the regulation of fixed-line networks will provide investors with certainty and ensure consumers are protected once the UFB build contracts expire,” says Ms Adams.

Ms Adams said 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. 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,” says Ms Adams.

“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.”

More information can be found at


The announcement build on the release of the Regulating Communications for the Future discussion document last year, which set out the Government’s long term vision for the communications sector. The document was received well by industry, consumer groups and others, with 43 submissions received running to over 1100 pages. These submissions have informed the policy development process.

The policy announcements contribute to the Government’s target that by 2025, 99 percent of New Zealanders will have access to peak speeds of 50 Mbps, with the remainder will be able to access speeds of at least 10 Mbps.

The review of the Telecommunications Act is part of the Government’s Convergence work programme, which aims to update regulations in light of technological advances. More information on convergence is available at