ComCom’s UBA and steel focus


The Commerce Commission has released a consultation document on the non-price terms of the Unbundled Bitstream Access (UBA) standard terms determination (STD). The paper seeks views on the key issues the commission intends to address in the review, as well as the proposed process.

The commission is undertaking this review in order to ensure that the regulated UBA service meets the needs of typical end-users over the medium term.

UBA is one method of supplying broadband services – allowing retail telecommunications companies to provide internet services over Chorus’ copper network without the need to install their own equipment in exchanges. The UBA STD sets the price and technical features of the service that Chorus must offer to retail companies.

Telecommunications commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said the UBA STD was first released in 2007, before Chorus was separated from Telecom, and the non-price terms now need to be reviewed to assess whether they are still fit for purpose in today’s environment.

“While the regulated UBA service has evolved over time, we recognise that there remains some uncertainty over what Chorus is required to provide. By clarifying the technical features our aim is to ensure the regulated service remains suitable for typical broadband customers, and allows Chorus to develop commercial variants for specific user groups.

“Additionally, having recently completed our TSLRIC pricing review of the UBA service, this review will be helpful in considering whether and how the UBA service description and the TSLRIC pricing principle modelling decisions should be aligned.”

Update on steel mesh investigation

The Commerce Commission welcomes Steel & Tube’s decision not to sell SE seismic steel mesh until the mesh has been through a dual-testing process and the company has test results that demonstrate compliance with the standard.

As part of an investigation into seismic steel mesh the commission is testing samples of mesh from various companies. Results received by the commission recently showed a sample of product tested from Steel & Tube did not meet the requirements of the standard.

The commission advised Steel & Tube of its concerns about the test results and requested further information. In response to that request Steel & Tube advised that it would be implementing a dual-testing process on all of its SE seismic mesh. The commission understands that until that testing is done and compliance is demonstrated, Steel & Tube will not sell that mesh.

Steel mesh sold in New Zealand must comply with the Australia/New Zealand standard (AS/NZ 4671:2001). The commission’s tests alone do not establish non-compliance. They show that the sheets of mesh tested failed the testing. There are a number of ways to meet that standard and information has been requested from Steel & Tube to substantiate its claims that the product does comply with the standard.

The commission also tested a sample of steel mesh from Fletcher Building. Those tests did not raise concerns.