Register as a network operator

This page tells you how to register as a network operator under the Telecommunications Act 2001 and about the special rights network operator status allows.

Who can apply

You can apply to be a network operator if you need the special rights this allows to start or carry on a telecommunications or broadcasting business, such as land access.

You don't need to be a network operator to provide telecommunication or broadcasting services.

The following information is provided as a guide only, and is not a substitute for the precise text of the law or professional legal advice.

Special rights under the Act

Sections 102-105 of the Telecommunications Act 2001 relate to the network operator designation which provides special rights of access to land. In particular, it allows network operators to access the road reserve to lay or construct telecommunication or broadcasting lines.

Applicants must be approved if the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media is satisfied that becoming a network operator is necessary for you to be able to carry out your business.

You must have either:

  • telecommunication facilities that enable 10 or more people to communicate with each other
  • broadcasting facilities able to reach 500 or more people.

Making an application

Include the following information when submitting an application:

  • why network operator status is necessary to your business
  • the actual business you will provide and your anticipated customer levels
  • a copy or details of your business plan that shows how your business will develop
  • the geographic areas where cable laying will be necessary and the number of customers it will be reach
  • a copy of the company's certificate of incorporation
  • a brief company history.

Download a Network Operator Registration Form [PDF, 14 KB] 

Official Information Act 1982

Written information provided to us is subject to the Official Information Act 1982. This requires us to make information available unless there is good reason not to. If you want specific information that you've provided treated as confidential, please identify it clearly and explain why you believe it should be withheld.

Processing timeframes

Once all required information is provided, we prepare a report for the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media.

If the Minister is satisfied your application meets the specified criteria, they will declare you to be a network operator for the purposes of the Telecommunications Act 2001. This doesn't imply government endorsement of your business or business proposal.

Declarations can be revoked if you cease to provide telecommunication or broadcasting facilities. In such circumstances, a notice would be published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Contact us

We are available to answer your questions regarding prospective applications.

Contact us by email or at:

ICT Policy and Programmes
Commerce, Consumers and Communications Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
PO Box 1473

Last updated: 24 June 2020