The Commerce Commission released its first estimate of the amount carriers will each pay for their share of the Telecommunications Development Levy for 2012-13. The $50 million levy is used to pay for public good telecommunications projects including services for the deaf, 111 emergency services and rural broadband.
Companies that earn more than $10 million a year from operating public telecommunications networks are expect to contribute roughly 1 percent of revenue towards the levy. In the past Telecom NZ and Vodafone have been the largest contributors. More recently Chorus has been added to the list. Between them the big three pay 90 percent of the total with the remainder coming from another 19 companies.
The Commerce Commission publishes what it calls a draft liability allocation determination. When this is published there’s usually some haggling over details in a submissions process. That’s happening now and a final decision is expected on December 20.
Chorus chairwoman Sue Sheldon used the company’s annual meeting in Wellington to criticise the Commerce Commission cutting copper access prices saying it undermines the government-sponsored UFB project. She says: “Investors now attach a regulatory risk premium to Chorus and this has implications for our cost of capital”. She says this means investors now see New Zealand telecommunications as un-investable.
Unisys New Zealand renewed a six-year mainframe service contract with Inland Revenue. Neither party is saying how much the deal is worth, but the IRD says it will not need any new money from government. IRD also said any decision about replacing the mainframe will be taken as part of its transformation programme. Last year the IRD warned that ageing technology put its ability to collect tax at risk. It said it would need to spend as much as $1.5 billion over 10 years on a replacement.
Te Miro in the Waikato is now connected to the government’s rural broadband network. Vodafone says it switched on its newly built 25m lattice tower giving coverage to 400 households. The company says the final tower planned for Waipa District under the RBI, Maihiihi, will provide mobile coverage and wireless broadband for an additional 110 homes and businesses. Vodafone has also upgraded all six of its existing sites around Waipa District, including Karapiro, Cambridge, Kihikihi, Te Awamutu, Mystery Creek and Lake Karapiro.
BusinessDesk reportsTradeMe told shareholders at its AGM it is set to 40 new tech workers to work on site upgrades. The online auction company told its shareholders to expect subdued growth in the coming year.