Broadband - The FOURTH utility.
A big day yesterday for broadband in New Zealand. It finally got to join its counterparts of water, gas and electricity as one of the basic services we count on... welcome to the utility club Broadband!
In a series of decisions on how broadband in New Zealand is to be regulated in the future, the Communications Minister, Amy Adams took positive action because the current regulatory system doesn't take into account the uptake of fibre broadband by consumers in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Government is also looking at the best ways to support and encourage competition in the mobile phone market in New Zealand and these changes could include regulating prices charged for national roaming services across the country.
Ms Adams said "To help reach our 2025 broadband target and to keep our economy growing, we need the right laws in place to make sure high quality and affordable communication services are available for consumers and businesses"
What that means to you, the New Zealand consumer is that both fibre broadband and copper broadband (things like ADSL and VDSL) services will become regulated in a similar way to electricity. The main fibre and copper lines company, Chorus, which build and maintains the broadband network in New Zealand has welcomed the decision, saying the Government has effectively recognised broadband as the fourth utility, alongside water, gas and electricity. I know what I would rather live without! ;-)
So what does this mean for you?
Not that much straight away to be honest... the Government says there will be no sudden increase in prices for so-called "anchor" products like basic phone and broadband services. They have said that they will consider whether national roaming charges on mobile phones should be regulated and they have asked for consumers and the telecoms and broadband industry to feedback on the new broadband regulation proposals later this year. Plenty of time though as the new regulations won't be coming into force until 2020.
Here at Broadband Compare however, we will certainly be raising a glass to welcome broadband as the fourth utility! Excelsior!