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ComCom to investigate Chorus UBA proposals

ComCom to investigate Chorus UBA proposals

Telco infrastructure provider's proposed changes to regulated broadband under dispute

The New Zealand Commerce Commission will investigate proposed changes to the regulated unbundled bitstream access (UBA) service by broadband infrastructure provider Chorus.

It is claimed that these proposed changes are an enforceable breach under the New Zealand Telecommunications Act 2001.

Unbundled bitstream access is a service that allows retail telecommunications companies to supply broadband (internet) services over the copper network without the need to install their own equipment in the exchange. The service is regulated under the Telecommunications Act.

The commission received a complaint from Telecom New Zealand about the changes to the UBA service. It formed part of a submission on a new commercial broadband service that Chorus’ has developed to compete with UBA. Business telecommunications provider CallPlus also raised concerns over the legality of Chorus’ proposal.

Telecommunications commissioner, Dr Stephen Gale, said the commission was very supportive of innovation within the industry and of commercial services that compete with regulated services, especially when it leads to improved services for consumers.

“However, regulated services must be properly maintained and not eroded.”

The investigation will be undertaken under section 156O of the Telecommunications Act which requires the commission to consider any complaints received. The commission said the investigation will determine if Chorus’ proposed changes are likely to breach the UBA standard terms determination.

Chorus, originally the network services operator for Telecom and a separate entity since 2011, initially advised the commission of its proposal in May. It offered two new unregulated UBA services Boost HD and Boost VDSL, withdrawing the regulated very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) and new bandwidth management settings for the regulated UBA service.

On July 10, Chorus made what the commission describes as a number of substantive changes to the proposal.

Read more: Chorus, CFH agree on option to bring forward funding for UFB programme

The Commission will assess whether the proposed new unregulated UBA services are materially different from the regulated UBA service and can be priced separately. The assessment began late in May 2014.

The changes made by Chorus earlier in the month are likely to have an impact on the timeline for the Commission’s assessment.


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