New Zealand’s trade watchdog, the Commerce Commission (ComCom), has told Telecom New Zealand that if it delivers bitstream service over VDSL technology then it must do so on regulated terms and conditions, including price. However, if Telecom Wholesale were to use its VDSL network to deliver a service with specifications that do not fall within the regulated unbundled bitstream service (for example, a higher quality of service that is not covered by the existing regulation), then it would be free to set its own terms and conditions.
The Commission said it ‘considers that ongoing monitoring of VDSL-based bitstream services, rather than regulation, is appropriate at the present time [because] VDSL deployment is in its infancy in New Zealand, with Telecom yet to launch VDSL-based services; TelstraClear is already offering retail VDSL services in the market; and Telecom has committed to providing wholesale VDSL-based bitstream service to access seekers on a non-discriminatory basis.’
Telecommunications Commissioner, Dr Ross Patterson, said: ‘The Commission’s view is that Telecom should be allowed to offer, on a commercial basis, new wholesale broadband services that are not currently regulated, provided Telecom offers the new VDSL services to other telecommunications companies on the same terms as to Telecom’s retail units and to the same equivalence standards as applies to the regulated services.’ He added: ‘VDSL is an emerging technology which is capable of delivering significant benefits to consumers such as increased speeds and facilitation of the development of innovative new services. It is important that incentives for investment in new DSL technologies such as this are preserved, so that consumers are able to receive the benefits associated with such innovations.’