7 Apr 2011

Minister dismisses fears of broadband monopoly

2:07 pm on 7 April 2011

Telecommunications minister Steven Joyce has responded to heated criticism of the Government's plan to give ultra-fast broadband operators a regulatory holiday.

The holiday removes the oversight of the Commerce Commission, and stops it from investigating or regulating prices in the new industry for the first ten years.

Mr Joyce told the Telecommunications Summit in Auckland on Thursday that monopolies won't happen under ultra-fast broadband.

The owners will be starting with no customers and working hard to get them, so under those circumstances it is hard to behave like a monopoly, he says.

Mr Joyce says they'll be be competing with a depreciated, regulated copper network for the period of regulatory forbearance.

"You can bet that products offered over copper will put competitive pressure on fibre operators and ensure they keep their prices low."

Mr Joyce says contracts between the government agency, Crown Fibre Holdings, and the new companies will also ensure pricing is competitive.