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Commerce commission to investigate Spark

05 Jul 2016

The Commerce Commission has recently confirmed it will investigate whether Spark's resale voice services should be deregulated. This comes after the completion of its five yearly review of Schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act 2001. 

Spark's resale voice services have enabled retail service providers (RSPs) to offer retail fixed-line phone services without having to invest in their own infrastructure. These services were originally introduced with the Act in 2001 and were amended in 2011. 

Dr Stephen Gale, telecommunications commissioner, says it was an appropriate time to take a closer look.   “As signalled in our draft decision, we believe Spark faces increased competition from other wholesale alternatives such as ultra-fast broadband and Chorus’ baseband services, which enable RSPs to provide retail voice services to consumers. Having considered submissions, in our view the time is right to investigate deregulation further,” says Gale.

The Commission has also decided not to investigate whether any other services listed in Schedule 1 should be deregulated at this time.   “The other regulated services listed in Schedule 1 remain important wholesale inputs that support the supply of vibrant and competitive retail voice and broadband services. We don’t consider there are reasonable grounds to consider moving to deregulation of these services at this time," adds Gale.    “We do however intend to monitor the provision of backhaul services. We recognise that the provision of backhaul services has evolved considerably in the years since they were regulated. A number of issues relating to competition and the current service descriptions have been raised in submissions during the current process. We expect to produce an issues paper towards the end of this year to obtain further information and industry views on this matter.”

Information for the Commissions final decision will be published today. 

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