ComCom recommends deregulating Spark's fixed line services

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

New Zealand regulator claims there is sufficient competition in the market

The New Zealand Commerce Commission (ComCom) has recommended that Spark’s wholesale fixed line voice services become deregulated after finding there is sufficient competition in the market.

In a draft recommendation in a consultation report, ComCom said competition from Chorus, local fibre companies and fixed wireless operators offers services that compete with Spark’s resale service.

The three fixed network services subject to the recommendation are local access and calling services; retail services; and retail services offered as part of a bundle.

Telecommunications commissioner Stephen Gale said: “Broadband networks now cover 97% of commercial and residential landlines and provide competitive alternatives for delivering voice services. The remaining 3% are mainly remote voice-only customers where Spark is the sole fixed line wholesale provider. 

“However, for the majority of these remote lines, RSPs can use fixed wireless services from either the Rural Broadband Initiative or based on extended mobile networks. A small number of outstanding consumers that can access voice only lines are protected by a separate regulated price cap. Given this, our view is we should remove the resale services from the Act.”

The report is just a draft and is available through the Commission’s website, with submissions set to close on Monday 17 October. A public conference will discuss the Commission’s views and submissions on 1 November, with final recommendations expected to be made by January 2017.