The Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband and Other Matters) Amendment Bill has passed its third and final reading in New Zealand's Parliament. The Bill provides the regulatory framework for the government's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiatives. It also implements reforms to the Telecommunications Service Obligation (TSO) regime, and implements measures to assist in the roll-out of broadband. The Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative aims to deliver fibre connectivity to schools, hospitals and 90 percent of businesses by 2015, and to three-quarters of all New Zealanders by 2020.
The Rural Broadband Initiative will cover areas outside of the UFB and will enable 97 percent of schools to connect to ultra-fast broadband and 97 percent of households to receive peak speeds of at least 5 Mbps. The bill also clears the way for the structural separation of Telecom New Zealand into two new businesses, as part of Telecom's involvement in the Ultra-Fast Broadband project. Following Royal Assent, the bill is scheduled to come into force on 1 July.