Fibre regulatory framework
The Telecommunications Act 2001 includes a regulatory framework for fibre connection.
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The fibre regulatory framework was introduced following a review conducted between 2013 and June 2017. The Telecommunications Act 2001 was then amended in November 2018 to create a new framework for the regulation of wholesale fibre services, which would replace the existing contracts for government programmes such as the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) initiative. The framework is a wholesale level arrangement that provides stable and predictable regulation for fibre connectivity and removes regulation of copper lines where fibre is available.
Most recent changes
Following the review of the Telecommunications Act 2001, the legislation:
- provides for the development of a new utility regulation framework for fibre fixed line access services from 2020
- deregulates copper fixed line access services in areas where fibre services are available to consumers, while retaining regulation in areas where fibre is not available
- puts in place consumer safeguards when copper services are to be withdrawn
- streamlines the process for recommending regulation of services in Schedule 3 of the Act
- requires the Commerce Commission to undertake retail service quality monitoring
- provides more regulatory oversight of retail service quality, associated consumer codes and dispute resolution processes in the telecommunications sector
- provides for technical revisions to the Telecommunications Regulatory Levy. These changes provide consistency with the levy arrangements for utility regulation under the Commerce Act
- removes line of business restrictions for Chorus that do not add to prohibition on participation in retail, which remain in place.
Telecommunications (Regulated Fibre Services) Regulations 2021
As part of the new fibre regime, regulations are now in place which require Chorus to provide specified anchor broadband and voice services and a direct fibre access service (DFAS) on the terms and the maximum prices set in the regulations. The regulations come into effect on 1 January 2022.
Read more information on the regulations
Future review for the copper pricing framework
The Commerce Commission is required to review the pricing framework for copper services (no later than 2025) to ensure the new system remains fit for purpose.
After 2023, the Commerce Commission may recommend to the Minister for Digital Economy and Communications that:
- unbundled fibre services should be price-capped
- the Direct Fibre Access Service should be adjusted
- anchor product prices should become purely cost-based
- the form of control should change from a revenue cap to ‘price caps’ (where all services provided by a supplier are subject to price caps set by the Commerce Commission).
Regulating the price of unbundled fibre products
From 2020, Chorus and the local fibre companies are already required under their open access deeds to offer an unbundled mass-market fibre service on commercial terms.
Under the Telecommunications Act 2001, the Commerce Commission can investigate after 2023 whether the unbundled fibre service should be regulated. It can then recommend to the Minister for Communications that price caps should be introduced for the product, together with technical specifications and conditions for the service
If you have any questions email us at CommunicationsPolicy@mbie.govt.nz.