After 257 written submissions and 31 personal submitters the parliamentary select committee overseeing the Telecommunications Amendments Bill released its recommendations. The Bill aims to set the regulatory scene for fibre networks after 2020.
The committee recommended to keep the separation between wholesale and retail services in place for now. There was a possibility of relaxed rules allowing Chorus to link wholesale inputs and deliver an end-to-end-like service.
Elsewhere the committee decided that from 2020 the copper network can be deregulated in places where the fibre network is available. It can also be removed. However, the Commerce Commission can request that this is delayed for up to two years.
Another recommendation is that 100/20Mbps is to become the anchor product. This will be set so that customers can buy a basic broadband service at a reasonable price. It will then act as the anchor for other prices.
In a statement Chorus welcomed parts of the report but says the changes don't go far enough. The company warns the rules may restrict its ability to change prices and could stifle innovation.
Chorus chief executive Kate McKenzie says the anchor product price path "unfairly restricts our ability to recover costs and would require us to price below local fibre companies."
The company also objects to the restrictions on the lines of business it can enter. However, the Bill gives the Commerce Commission an option to provide exemptions for services on a case by case basis.
Spark was more positive about the report. Spark says it doesn't expect any of the changes to have a significant effect on its operations.
Meanwhile, Vodafone seems delighted with parts of the report. In a media statement chief executive Russell Stanners says; “We are especially pleased the Committee has listened to the concerns we raised around relaxing line of business restrictions on Chorus and LFCs and ensuring the anchor products are set fairly and in the interests of consumers.
On a down note, he says that while the committee recommends keeping fibre unbundling in the legislation, it hasn't asked for the Commerce Commission to set prices.