The Telecommunications Users Association, representing around 500 corporate subscribers, has put its weight behind those calling for a Telecom split.
“Splitting Telecom’s network business, Chorus, into a completely separate company would be an excellent outcome for users and would future-proof Telecom’s leadership in telecommunications,” Tuanz chief executive Ernie Newman said in a statement.
But will it happen?
Asked by NBR whether he thought structural separation was likely to actually happen, Mr Newman said all the logic was pointing in that direction, "but whether its leaning strongly enough remains to be seen."
On the downgrade conference call yesterday, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds, previously an opponent of separation, seemed to indicate a new openness to the concept, saying his company was exploring "a full range of approaches" with the government.
But Mr Newman did not take this to necessarily be a direct reference to structural separation. "I'm conscious it seemed to be a bit of a throwaway comment?"
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Recent setbacks that Telecom has suffered must not be allowed to obscure the fact that the company is the cornerstone of New Zealand’s telecommunications infrastructure, Mr Newman said.
“Tuanz expects it to retain that role into the long term future. We want sensible management of the complex issues around the transition from Telecom’s copper to the Government-subsidised fibre, with Telecom working as part of a wider government-industry partnership.
“If structural separation would clear obstacles to such a partnership, that would benefit both Telecom and the nation. It would also remove a very significant burden of cost and complexity from both Telecom and the government in the form of compliance and monitoring of the operational separation regime."
New Zealand is too small a country, and the benefits of the ultra fast broadband age are too important, for Telecom and the government to be working in anything other than harmony, Mr Newman said.
"We see voluntary structural separation as a win-win outcome of immense proportions, and we urge Telecom to keep it under active consideration,” said the Tuanz boss, who welcomed chief executive Paul Reynolds' comments yesterday, which seemed to indicate the telco was nudging toward some kind of compromise deal with the goverment.
Fri, 16 Apr 2010