New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has released its final report recommending that Spark’s resale copper voice services be deregulated. The regulator noted that consultation on its draft report, released in April this year, supported its view that retailers can provide the service over fibre and other networks to almost all New Zealanders. ‘Competition in this market is now well-established and no longer depends on the resale of copper voice services from Spark,’ noted Telecommunications Commissioner Stephen Gale. The watchdog is therefore recommending the Minister of Communications removes the relevant provisions from the Telecommunications Act. The few remaining consumers who only buy a voice service on a copper line, and effectively have no other option than to receive the service from Spark, will continue to be protected by a price cap in the Telecommunications Service Obligations.
Some retailers currently re-brand and re-sell Spark’s voice service by commercial agreement rather than invest in the necessary infrastructure. The resale service is in the Act as a backstop in case competition for the supply of voice services is found to not be strong enough and regulation is needed quickly.