ComCom isn't just reviewing telco regulation, but how to fund it too

ComCom isn't just reviewing telco regulation, but how to fund it too

A proposal to increase the levy on telcos appears to be looming

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale

The Commerce Commission is seeking feedback from the telecommunications sector on how to fund the estimated $12 million cost of new fibre regulations.

The regulator is also seeking guidance about whether it should request additional funding for consumer groups, as is done in the UK and Australia, to boost consumer input into its processes. 

This would add an estimated $1 million over three years to the cost of implementing the new regulations, a discussion paper released today said

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said ComCom would consider feedback before making its proposal to the Government to increase the industry levy which funds its work in the telco sector.

Last week the regulator announced it was launching a study into the regulation of fibre networks as Parliament pondered a utility model of regulation under the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill.

“If passed, the legislation will set us a substantial task of regulating fibre networks, a task that will require an increase in funding and staffing,” Gale said.

“We have calculated that it would cost us $12 million to implement the proposed regulation over a three year period. We are seeking feedback on whether our plan incorporates an appropriate level of quality for this process."

The legislation would require the Commission to set upfront rules and develop information disclosure requirements for the local fibre companies.

The Commission would also set the maximum revenue that network operator Chorus could charge its customers and the quality of service it must provide.

“The proposed funding increase will ensure we can create an efficient and effective regulatory framework, with opportunities for meaningful and robust stakeholder and consumer engagement,” Gale added.

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