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MyRepublic warned for failing to hand over info for telco levy

Monday 10th June 2019

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The Commerce Commission has publicly warned MyRepublic for failing to give it the right information on time to work out the internet service provider minnow's share of the $50 million Telecommunications Development Levy. 

Telecommunications companies pay an annual levy to the government which is used to pay for infrastructure where it isn’t immediately profitable to do so, such as in rural areas. The levy replaced the Telecommunication Service Obligation that Telecom previously operated under, known as the Kiwi Share. 

Telecommunications commissioner Stephen Gale said MyRepublic didn't provide accurate financial information or an auditor's report by the statutory deadline. When it did hand over the information, it incorrectly deducted early termination payments from its qualified revenue calculation. 

"The efficiency and integrity of the TDL allocation depends on liable companies providing complete and accurate information to ensure the levy is split in the correct proportions. Where one company doesn’t meet its obligations, it can affect all the others that have," Gale said in a statement. 

MyRepublic's 2017/18 levy was set at about $51,000 based on $4.3 million of qualifying revenue, or about 0.1 percent of the total pool. Spark New Zealand, Vodafone New Zealand and Chorus pay about 83 percent of the levy. 

The commission's determination noted the late filing of MyRepublic's statutory accounts and after questioning the company's calculation, increased the level of qualifying revenue by about $1 million.

That was the first year MyRepublic qualified as needing to pay the levy due to its "involvement in the growing residential retail fibre market", the determination said. 

The regulator said MyRepublic didn't offer any reason for failing to provide an audit report and may have avoided the miscalculation had it been audited. 

"Based on the information provided to us, we do not consider that MyRepublic had a reasonable excuse for its failures to comply with section 83," the regulator said in its letter to the company. 

The commission chose to warn the company, saying that it was able to make a determination on time and MyRepublic's share of the levy was just 0.1 percent. It also noted it was the first time MyRepublic was liable to pay the levy, that the non-compliance wasn't intentional, and that the company had previously been compliant. 

Singapore-based MyRepublic launched in New Zealand in 2014, pitching itself as a fibre-only ISP and tailoring its products for the government-sponsored ultrafast broadband. It charges about $90 a month for a basic fibre connection. 

(BusinessDesk)

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