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Changes to Telecom undertakings approved

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 13 NZPA - Communication and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce has approved a variation to Telecom's operational separation undertakings, but not as originally sought by the company.

The undertakings, which set out the requirements for splitting Telecom into three separate business units, came into effect in March 2008.

In May Telecom had sought changes in three areas, saying the Government's ultra-fast broadband initiative would fundamentally reshape the structure of the telecommunications industry.

A large proportion of the projects it was required by law to deploy this year were envisaged for a pre-fibre world, so it had asked for a variation on three components of its undertakings that it believed would no longer be relevant in a fibre future.

About three weeks ago Mr Joyce told Telecom he was not prepared to accept the variation as proposed, but was prepared to approve a number of changes subject to the company accepting certain conditions.

Mr Joyce said Telecom's original proposal had not met the purposes of operational separation as set out in legislation, but the variation he was prepared to approve largely addressed the issues raised in Telecom's variation request.

In a letter to Mr Joyce on Monday, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds said he was disappointed with Mr Joyce's conclusion about compatibility of the company's application with the law.

At the same time, he appreciated the pragmatic approach Mr Joyce proposed. He agreed with the sentiment of Mr Joyce's proposal, and the need to make progress on the company's work where possible.

Today Mr Joyce said he believed the changes he had approved would serve the best interests of consumers and also allow Telecom to develop services and systems that were consistent with changes being brought about by the Government's UFB initiative.

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