The Commerce Commission has released its final decision on the allocation of payments for the government’s NZD10.145 million (USD6.87 million) Telecommunications Development Levy (TDL) for the period covering 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. Spark (32.86%), Vodafone New Zealand (25.44%), Chorus (20.20%) and 2degrees (9.48%) will collectively pay 88% of the total levy, with the remainder divided among other liable providers. The amount each provider pays is proportionate to their telecommunications revenue.
The final determination follows consultation with affected parties and comes after the Commission sought clarification from the High Court on whether businesses involved in the transmission of broadcasting signals are liable to contribute to the levy following amendments to the Telecommunications Act in 2018, which removed an exemption for ‘broadcasting’ from the definition of ‘telecommunication’. In a judgement issued in October, the High Court confirmed that, apart from free-to-air broadcasters and satellite providers operating outside New Zealand, businesses involved in broadcasting transmission can be liable to pay the TDL. The main impact for the 2020/21 TDL year is that Sky Network Television is now liable to contribute to the TDL for the first time and Kordia will pay a higher share than in previous years.
The TDL is paid by providers earning more than NZD10 million per year from telecommunications services, including internet, mobile and data services, and is used to pay for telecommunications infrastructure and services that are not commercially viable, such as the relay service for the deaf and hearing-impaired, broadband for rural areas, and improvements to the 111 emergency service.