With the blurring of boundaries between media and telecommunications markets creating new challenges to policy and regulatory frameworks and the Commerce Commission’s investigation of Sky’s contracts under sections 27 and 36 of the Commerce Act as a backdrop, InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has today published a discussion paper, titled ‘Responding to Convergence in Communications Markets’.
The discussion paper is available at http://tinyurl.com/czqy5o7.
InternetNZ Chief Executive Vikram Kumar says the paper aims to provide information about the different competition regulation regimes that apply to broadcasting and telecommunications. The former is subject to the general complaints-based, ex-post competition regime while the latter has a proactive, ex-ante monitoring regime.
The discussion paper has information about the range of different approaches taken to convergence in other countries. The countries compared are UK, Australia, USA, and Canada.
The paper also aims to provide options and considerations for reform of the competition policy applying to converged media and telecommunications markets. Unlike other countries where broadcasting is subject to specific policy regulation and harmonisation in a converged environment, New Zealand primarily needs to look at its content competition policy.
The discussion paper picks up a number of issues from the last government report on this matter, that of the then Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage in 2009. It considers both economic and cultural policy issues to set out four broad options for content competition policy reform. These options range from doing nothing to empowering the Commerce Commission with a further role to developing a single regulatory framework for both broadcasting and telecommunications.
Kumar says that “InternetNZ hopes that the discussion paper is both informative and leads to a discussion about if and what needs to be done about competition in a converged media and telecommunications world. Undoubtedly, the results of the Commerce Commission’s investigation into Sky’s contracts will have a huge impact on future thinking in this area”.
“We welcome comments and feedback from everyone interested in this subject. We will incorporate these comments and the results of the Commerce Commission’s investigation into an updated paper, probably in the first quarter of 2013.”