commentary Australia is not the only country with a telecommunications sector in turmoil. The action is also hotting up across the Tasman, as New Zealand wrestles with many of the same issues being debated here.
commentary Australia is not the only country with a telecommunications
sector in turmoil.
The action is also hotting up across the Tasman, as New
Zealand wrestles with many of the same issues being debated
Much of the current discussion was generated by the early May
announcement of a sweeping package of government reforms aimed at
boosting New Zealand's broadband uptake.
That package, introduced to the country's parliament
yesterday, will force the nation's incumbent telco Telecom New
Zealand to give rivals direct access to its copper telephony
You could almost hear the drool hit the pavement in May as the Kiwi
operations of telcos like Telstra and iiNet started
And no doubt New Zealand's broadband-hungry public was just as
happy with the looming increase in competition.
But at the time it looked as Telecom New Zealand's management
had a case of sour grapes ... understandable if you were in their
"Today's package actually tells players to put away any major
investment plans and rely on regulation instead," said Telecom's
general manager of government and industry reglations Bruce
Parkes in a statement.
The government also made it clear Telecom could be in for more
strife, threatening to separate the telco's retail and wholesale
divisions to prevent uncompetitive collusion.
Now Telecom's plight is not that different from that of
Telstra's in Australia.
Both find their business models under siege as governments try
to increase competition and boost broadband usage.
Telstra is proceeding with the operational separation imposed
on it by Australia's government.
But the telco has reacted badly to its predicament, flinging
its fair share of mud at everyone but itself.
"It's almost at the point where I'll have to have someone from
the ACCC hold my hand while I go to the toilet," a Telstra
spokesperson told your writer in December last year on the
subject of operational separation.
In contrast, Telecom New Zealand appears to have realised from
which direction the wind is blowing.
Yesterday the telco said it would voluntarily (you read that
correctly) separate its wholesale and retail operations.
Telecom apparently wants to work with its wholesale customers
rather than make life difficult for them.
The move already looks to be paying off ... if the goodwill of
New Zealand's competition regulator is any measurement.
"[Telecom CEO] Theresa Gattung has been clear in her recent
comments that Telecom has got the message and is committed to
making the new environment work," Commerce Commission
telecommunications commissioner Douglas Webb told a conference in
Auckland yesterday morning.
He added Telecom's recent moves showed the telco was willing
to let bygones be bygones and "engage in new ways of working with
the regulator and its competitors".
Speaking after Webb, Gattung agreed. "Our actions do live up to our pledge to do things differently from now on," she said.
Telecom's public change of attitude is certainly a breath
of fresh air.
Maybe Telstra could take some hints from its Kiwi cousin.
Are you a New Zealander tired of waiting for
broadband? What do you think of Telecom's reaction to the
government reforms? Drop me a line directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or post some feedback below.