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InternetNZ calls for sense and perspective in UBS debate

Media Release - November 2, 2005 - “The latest comments by some industry groups on the broadband market are deeply disappointing, because they pay scant attention to the facts involved,” said InternetNZ President Colin Jackson today.

Mr Jackson responded to comments from Business NZ, Vector and Federated Farmers among others, as reported in the New Zealand Herald this morning, stating “It is vital that three sets of facts are kept in mind.”

“Firstly, Telecom’s network investment is driven by what is good for
Telecom. Protecting the interests of the incumbent telecommunications
carrier is not the job of the Commission: promoting competition in the
interests of end users is.”

“UBS and even DSL are only one part of a range of technologies that
give access to broadband Internet. Many other options are available to
‘last mile’ consumers, including wireless and satellite access. In any
case, Telecom’s continuous ‘threats’ to hold up investment if more
competition arises have a credibility similar to that of their
contention that free local calling causes New Zealand’s low broadband
uptake. That argument was firmly rejected by the OECD, and this
argument is equally as weak.”

“Second, Telecom already offers full speed broadband connections in
rural areas, wherever it is technically feasible. This poses exactly
the same risk to ‘reach’ as an unconstrained UBS service availability
would do. Our technical advisors believe such risks are negligible in
any case.”

“Finally, a single price point cannot lead to a single retail offering.
The cost of accessing the UBS is only one component of the costs making
up a broadband Internet service. Different bandwidth options, backhaul
and so on all affect the cost, the quality of service and ultimately
the price people are willing to pay. This is a deeply misleading straw
man argument, which we are very disappointed to see being iterated by
Business NZ. Their analogy of any DSL product being akin to a limousine
is highly inflammatory, as ADSL is known internationally as an
equivalent to a 1950’s Ford Prefect.”

“The UBS issue is straightforward. Those making comment should seek to
understand the technical arguments before making comments which end up
assisting Telecom to deny consumers better broadband at lower cost.
Rather than responding in line with Telecom’s repeatedly misleading
statements, commentators should adopt a bit of sense and perspective,”
Colin Jackson concluded.


Keith Davidson – Executive Director
021 377 587 or

Colin Jackson – President
021 393 685 or

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