Telco providers, Telecom and Chorus, have stated their support of possible changes to the Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO), put forward by Communications and IT minister, Amy Adams.
Minister Adams stated the telco market has changed dramatically since the TSO was introduced in 2001.
“Improved competition and well-targeted supply side initiatives like the Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband programmes mean most consumers now have a wider choice of providers and services,” Adams said. “Given the changing telecommunication scene, I am now seeking public feedback on the extent to which the TSO should be modernised and reshaped to meet the current environment and likely future changes in the sector.”
Four broad options are outlined in thediscussion document for future TSO provisions. This includes the status quo remaining, as well as three options for change – minimal, medium and significant.
In a statement, Telecom, said it was timely to assess whether there was a continuing need for a TSO in all parts of the country.
“We believe the current copper-based TSO should be updated to allow TSO services to be delivered over other available technologies such as mobile and fibre,” Telecom said in the statement.
Chorus’ General Counsel, Vanessa Oakley, welcomed the review as an opportunity to consider a fit for purpose TSO framework that acknowledges the significant change in industry structure and the Government’s fibre vision.
Chorus' wholesale services that enable the provision of the retail TSO (and broadband) services are currently price regulated under standard terms determinations, the UFB contract, the RBI contract and the open access deeds of undertaking.
There is currently no CPI or other adjustment on Chorus’ prices and it will need to carefully consider any economic impact of any proposal to extend its TSO obligations.
“This will form a significant part of the discussion on a coherent framework that ensures a sustainable and efficient transition to fibre for the years ahead, of which TSO is a part” she said.
Submissions close on August 20 and Telecom will be submitting its response.
The TSO regulatory framework was established under the Telecommunications Act 2001 and provides for basic telecommunications services to be available and affordable. Under the Act, a review of the TSO is required to take place before the end of 2013, and if it’s still required.