Communications Minister Steven Joyce's Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband, and Other Matters) Amendment Bill is likely to get its first reading on Wednesday.
The amendment focuses on law changes necessary to facilitate the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative, a $300 million, contestable six-year project that replaces the old Telecommunications Service Obligation.
But the bill is also notable for its explanatory note, which notes that future amendments may be needed to – including law changes to facilitate the break-up of Telecom, should the company win the urban Crown fibre tender, the $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) initiative:
It reads: “Depending on the forthcoming results from the UFB Initiative and RBI competitive tender processes, some additional legislative amendments may also be required in support of the government’s initiatives, in the following areas:
- Access rights to multi-unit complexes, private land, and the road reserve when constructing or maintaining telecommunications networks
- Amendments to enable the structural separation of Telecom NZ in the event that Telecom is selected as a preferred supplier under the UFB Initiative and that it accordingly decides to proceed with a demerger of its access network business.
Mr Joyce has made no secret of the fact that Telecom has made a national Crown Fibre bid, nor that the government would have to alter legislation to accommodate changes to the company's structure that go well beyond the remit of Crown Fibre Holdings (charged with selecting UFB partners).
But now, the possibility looks all the more concrete.
At a time Crown Fibre Holdings' negotiations with three lines company contenders are running far behind schedule, it has to make Telecom's UFB rivals nervous.
This week's legislation is also notable for formalising Mr Joyce's proposal of a ten-year forebearance from Commerce Commission scrunity - or "regulatory holiday" as critics like NBR guest columnist Michael Wigley and others have labelled it.
Telecom shares (NZX: TEL) finished the day up 3 cents (1.40%) to $2.16, against a broader market rise of 0.30%
The full version of the amendment is online here.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
- Dollar gains on signs of robust economy, while Fed hikes wait on run of strong data
- Veritas share price plunges after result
- MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Warehouse, Ryman while Orion, Chorus keep falling
- Genius move: Live-stream file-sharing chaos will play into Dotcom’s hands
- Judge failed to go into case with open mind – Megaupload lawyer
Most listened to
- Airways's Ed Sims says the growth in air traffic management will be hard to sustain
- In Editor's Insight, Nevil Gibson watches Auckland's four "true blue" mayoral candidates step out in Takapuna
- Cameron Officer on Singapore’s driver-less taxi in Car Torque
- In Editor's Insight, Nevil Gibson looks at Phil Goff, who at a forum in Takapuna spoke of the need to reduce population
- Meridian CEO Mark Binns on the Tiwai smelter and generation options