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Bill Bennett

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New Zealand’s flawed broadband product disclosure regime

Tuanz CEO Paul Brislen nails the problem in product disclosure. He says the idea of product disclosure is good, but at the moment consumers only get basic information. The more difficult, technical stuff is still hidden.

He writes:

I don’t have a problem with traffic management plans, but when the telcos hide that information away it makes buying decisions doubly tricky, 

Today’s broadband product disclosure regime isn’t perfect, but it makes sense for today’s broadband market. It won’t be good enough in the near future when services move from copper to fibre.

On UFB, the wholesale fibre companies get to design the broadband delivery products. They are standardised.

This means companies selling retail internet services get to pick from the same pool of delivery products then package them with their own back-end and support. Those difficult technical details are the areas where they can differentiate themselves from rivals. Consumers may find it hard work ploughing through those details — although that’s where people like me can help explain matters — but soon they will be the only parts of the contracts that matter.

Which means either we tighten the disclosure regime, or it will become meaningless.

By the way, I’d also like to know things like how long it takes for a service provider’s support desk to answer incoming calls among other non-technical matters.

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