Study to improve understanding of fibre services ahead of future regulation

The Commerce Commission has launched a study of fibre services, to help it prepare for future regulation of fibre networks.

New Zealand’s fibre networks are being built by Chorus and three local fibre companies as part of the Government’s ultrafast fibre broadband initiative. The networks supply voice and broadband services to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

“This study will give us a better understanding of providers’ networks, fibre services, network operations and business practices,” Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.

Parliament is currently considering the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill. The Bill proposes a utility-style regulatory regime for fibre networks, similar to what applies for energy networks and airports.

“Implementing any new regulatory regime for fibre will be a major undertaking for the Commission. It is important we take steps now to increase our understanding of the industry and inform our future work,” Dr Gale said.

“Starting this study now under our market studies power in the Telecommunications Act gives us a head start on gathering information from Chorus and the local fibre companies. We expect the information about fibre services to be useful regardless of the form that regulation might take.”

The Commission intends to publish a high level summary of its findings at the conclusion of the study.

The Commission is holding a workshop with the industry on 2 May 2018. The study will be discussed as part of the workshop.

Details about the study can be found here.


Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill

The Bill, as currently drafted, would require the Commission to set upfront rules for fibre regulation, set price controls and minimum quality standards for Chorus, develop information disclosure requirements for Chorus and local fibre companies (Enable, Ultrafast Fibre and Northpower), and potentially develop a copper withdrawal code for areas where fibre services are available.

Section 9A studies

Section 9A of the Telecommunications Act allows the Commission to conduct studies into any matter relating to the telecommunications industry or the long-term benefit of consumers of telecommunications services.

The Commission also has studies underway into mobile markets and backhaul services. Information on those studies can be found on our website.