Paul Budde: TSO Review New Zealand – Comments

Published: Wed 17 Jan 2007 09:53 AM
TSO Review New Zealand – Comments
By Paul Budde
I very much welcome the review of the range of Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO) services that are to be provided under the government’s so called Kiwi Share arrangements. These obligations currently only encompass universal access to telephone services.
It is excellent to see that the New Zealand Minister realises that the TSO requirements of today’s telecoms services are totally different from those that were in place when the TSO was first established in 1990.
The key focus however should no longer be on the provision of certain services, as these services will continue to change very rapidly, especially broadband services. Instead the focus of the TSO should be on having access to good quality broadband infrastructure, to which all New Zealanders would have access to. In a government review, the specific outcomes required from such infrastructure can be debated and formalised. This should be independent of what technologies will or can be used.
Broadband is much more than high-speed Internet access. Already in Europe, it is used to deliver health care services such as the monitoring of elderly people and mentally ill patients. It is also used for doctor’s consultations and so on. Education is another social service that will greatly benefit from nationwide access to good broadband infrastructure. E-government, communication between local (and other levels) of government directly with their constituency is another service that becomes possible once the infrastructure for such services is guaranteed to all New Zealanders. Access to digital media, entertainment, and yes of course the Internet, are all services that can and will be delivered over such networks.
This is what the review should be all about, rather than prescribing rules for certain services which will be a never ending story. Under the new TSO arrangements the government should concentrate on securing broadband access.
The recently announced operational separation of Telecom will be a great step forward in securing an infrastructure based outcome to the TSO review.
PAUL BUDDE Communication Pty Ltd,
T/As BuddeComm
BuddeComm operates the largest, continually updated, telecommunications research service on the Net

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