Thursday, 10 December 2020 09:48

NZ telecoms regulator wants $15 million to fund its regulatory activities Featured

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New Zealand’s competition regulator The Commerce Commission is proposing to impose levies totalling $15 million a year on the telecommunictions and fibre sectors to fund its regulation of businesses operating in the industries.

The $15 million in funding to regulate telecommunications businesses represents a $3.7 million increase on the $11.3 million spent by the Commisssion in 2019/2020.

In its funding review papers released on Thursday, The Commerce Commission has sought feedback on the level of funding needed over the next five years to help deliver its regulation of the the telecommunications, electricity and gas sectors.

The Commission says in the review papers it considers it requires funding of:
-   $15 million a year for the telecommunications and fibre sector (a $3.7 million increase on the $11.3 million spent in 2019/2020)
-   $12 million a year in total for the electricity lines and gas pipeline sectors (a $1.8 million increase on the $10.2 million spent in 2019/2020) 
-   One-off funding of $8 million, spread over two years, for the input methodologies review due to be completed by 2023.

Commerce Commission Chief Executive Adrienne Meikle said the Commission’s role as an economic regulator had grown over the past decade as a result of legislative and technological change. 

“In today’s world a modern regulator needs to be increasingly dynamic and responsive to change. The proposed increase in our funding will enable us to deliver on the Government’s, and the public’s, expectations of us,” Meikle said.

“We believe the preferred funding options we have outlined in the review will address the cost pressures we currently face and enable delivery of our unfunded work programmes, including the on-going delivery of the new fibre regime. 

“Our funding proposals are subject to consultation and we want to hear from the companies we regulate and consumer groups about the type of regulator they need us to be in the years ahead.”

Just last month, The Commerce Commission released a decision on its approach to determining the value of the financial losses to be incurred by fibre providers during the initial period of operating Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) networks before demand met supply.

The financial loss asset will capture the unrecovered returns of New Zealand’s largest telco, Chorus and other local fibre companies - Enable Networks, Northpower and Ultrafast Fibre - during the initial period of operating Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) networks before demand met supply.

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