Tuesday, 11 June 2019 11:55

Regulatory intervention not currently needed for NZ telco services: regulator

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Regulatory intervention not currently needed for NZ telco services: regulator Image Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New Zealand’s competition regulator, The Commerce Commission, says further regulatory intervention is not currently needed for the country’s telco services backhaul.

Releasing the finding of an inquiry into backhaul services, the Commission said it was satisfied that while further regulatory intervention was not necessary at this time, it would continue to monitor backhaul prices and terms.

Under the backhaul arrangements, telecommunications retailers pay New Zealand’s largest telco, Chorus, and the other local fibre companies to handle Internet traffic between homes or businesses and suburban exchanges.

The retailers also buy "backhaul" from a range of network providers to carry the traffic between the suburban exchanges and the retailers’ international gateways and content servers – and mobile operators buy backhaul from cell sites to their gateways and servers.

loadposition peter}Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said that the Commission had found that the backhaul market was “generally competitive except in some provincial areas where Chorus is the only provider and some links are more expensive”.

“On these links Chorus has chosen to use a regulated pricing formula set by benchmarking in 2008. The relevant links are longer and carry less traffic but we expected that updated cost benchmarks would now be lower,” Dr Gale said.

“Even so, we don’t propose to regulate at this point. Firstly, the higher backhaul charges are having only a minor effect on nationwide retail broadband prices.

“Secondly the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will publish a suite of new fibre regulations this year under Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act. The new regulations may bring some of the relevant backhaul services under Chorus’ overall revenue cap, come January 2022.”

The Commission said it had also found several anomalies and errors in Chorus’ backhaul service offerings – and Chorus has now announced that it will review its backhaul portfolio.

“We will consider the need for new regulated backhaul services in a review that we are required to undertake some time before 2025,” Dr Gale said.

“The timing of the review will depend on the coverage of the new Part 6."

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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