One of the Nats’ few constructive policies at the last election was Steven Joyce’s ultra-fast broadband project. The Nats promised $1.5 Billion investment to deliver UFB to 75% of New Zealand homes within 10 years. Almost 3 years in, their proposals have just been met with almost universal rejection:
Telcos, consumer groups oppose fast broadband plan
New Zealand’s leading telecommunications companies and consumer groups have united against the government’s ultra-fast broadband (UFB) proposals.
Telcos are bidding for a part of the $1.5 billion for the network through Crown Fibre Holdings and will then build a network of fibre optic cables to the home throughout the country. But most of them, along with Federated Farmers, Consumer New Zealand, Internet NZ and the telecommunications users group TUANZ, have written a joint letter to all ministers calling for urgent action.
The letter said: “The only bodies that support the current Bill are those that hope to receive public money to build UFB. That tells an obvious story and should encourage you to look very closely at this legislation.”
TUANZ CEO Paul Brislen told TVNZ today they are concerned about the 10-year “holiday” from regulation that the successful bidders will get.
“In our view the regulatory holiday should be scrapped or at the least substantially modified, and the consumers’ champion – the Commerce Commission – should be allowed to do its job,” he said.
Brislen says a regulatory holidays means the Commission will not be able to look at pricing until 2020 which could trap people into high broadband prices.
Vodafone, 2 Degrees, TelstraClear, Call Plus, Kordia/Orcon, Opto Network and Torotoro Waea are all signatories to the letter.
The group says it fully supports broadband infrastructure investment but has grave concerns the current plans will “cause a dramatic reduction in competition and investment in the New Zealand telecommunications market”.
How did Joyce and the Nats get it so wrong?