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Telecom blasts 'heavy-handed' inquiry

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Wednesday 4th October 2000

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Telecom is lambasting the final Telecommunications Inquiry report for falling well short of delivering on its objectives.

Included in the report are recommendations to bring some telecommunication services under price control, and the appointment of an industry regulator in the form of an Electronic Communications Commissioner.

But Telecom spokesman Bruce Parkes says the inquiry has missed an opportunity to lead New Zealand forward in the digital age.

"The Inquiry report starts with sound objectives but many of its recommendations fall well short of delivering on these in this dynamic industry. Indeed, the Inquiry panel seems intent on introducing old-style, heavy handed regulation of telecommunications which is 10 years out of date."

Mr Parkes has revoiced Telecom's concerns over having an industry regulator, which was first recommended in a draft report.

"The Inquiry panel's proposed Electronic Communications Commissioner would be a highly retrograde step for New Zealand where competition is flourishing and major investment is being made in exciting new communications technologies. The report has failed to make any convincing case for a new bureaucracy dedicated to intervening in a highly competitive industry."

Telecom is also digging its feet in further over any proposed continuation of the Kiwi Share scheme under current conditions.

Mr Parkes says the company is willing to negotiate the scheme but doesn't want a new arrangement to be made law.

"We will not accept a proposal for suddenly making the Kiwi Share an open-ended obligation on Telecom, with potential for the costs to mount steadily over time," he says.

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