Geoff Thorn, CEO of the Telecommunications Forum (TCF), has responded to a new, simplified consenting process that telecommunications companies must follow when installing modern networks like UFB, in instances where there are multiple interests in a property.
“The telecommunications industry welcomes these changes, as many fibre installation delays are caused by long consent processes, which can be frustrating and costly for both providers and consumers” says Mr Thorn. “We’re looking forward to seeing faster installation times, and subsequently increased numbers of connections.”
The changes have been enacted under Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Amendment Act, which passed into law in April. The new regime improves network operators’ ability to install fibre across shared property, where the nature of the installation meets the definition of being “low impact”.
The Act also incentivises telecommunications companies to use lower impact methods of installation to avoid property disruption, and enables the use of existing infrastructure such as electricity lines for deploying fibre in rural areas.
Before they can utilise these new provisions, network operators are required to join the approved property access dispute resolution scheme. This scheme, managed by Utilities Disputes Ltd, is designed to protect third party property owners by giving them somewhere to go if they believe that appropriate processes and quality standards have not been followed. In all cases, the network operator will write to the affected property owners to advise that it is exercising these rights of access, and the circumstances under which a dispute might be taken to Utilities Disputes Ltd.
Any telecommunications disputes between consumers and telecommunications providers should be taken to the Telecommunication Dispute Resolution (TDR). TDR can be reached at www.tdr.org.nz or on Freephone 0508 98 98 98.
“New Zealand the second-fastest fibre uptake in the developed world, and we score very highly for Network Readiness compared to other OECD countries. As an industry, we’re pleased to see the Government make provisions that have a positive impact on the number of people and businesses able to connect to the world-class telecommunications services already available in New Zealand.”
For more information, please contact: Geoff Thorn, TCF, CEO