The valuation of assets is probably the most important decision regulators will face for a network business dominated by fixed costs because depreciation and the return to capital derived from this valuation will account for well over half of total costs.
In some recent work for Fiji, there was some debate about whether assets should be based on ‘actual’ or ‘replacement’ costs. As the following report shows, my view is that both theory and practice support the use of replacement costs. Asset valuation-revised-1
New Zealand is moving towards “utility style” regulation for ultra-fast broadband (UFB) copper and fibre networks. Its main focus is on the application of price–quality regulation based on the ‘building blocks’ model (BBM).
The BBM is just one step towards the utility style regulation. New Zealand has the opportunity to also adopt utility style wholesale pricing which addresses its concerns about affordable anchor products while also encouraging adoption and use of broadband networks.
For more, see Economuse 2016-08-29
All submissions at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/communications/regulating-the-telecommunications-sector/review-of-the-telecommunications-act-2001/submissions-received-options-paper
The Ministry of Business Innovation and employment NZ is moving to the building block method (BBM) adopted by the ACCC some years ago.There are several ultra-fast broadband providers in NZ and one of them also has a copper network with no decommissioning deadline. The Ministry is seeking views on how this wholesale sector should be regulated from 2020.
My submission suggests that the BBM is just one step towards the utility style regulation that it wants. NZ has the opportunity to also adopt utility style wholesale pricing which addresses its concerns about anchor products, encourages adoption and use of broadband networks while avoiding the mistakes made by Canada and Australia.
The submission can be accessed here: NZ-2016
Two current consultations by the ACCC show a marked difference in the regulator’s treatment of the legacy (Telstra) access network and its treatment of the new broadband network being built by NBN Co.
Both Telstra and NBN Co. are subject to the building block method for calculating allowable revenues (wholesale only in the case of NBN Co.). But in application, the ACCC continues to hammer Telstra while mollycoddling NBN Co.
The ACCC hopes that keeping Telstra’s access prices low will be good for competition and end users. It may be wrong (see reference in the attached to “price competition has stalled”) and it is short sighted. The real issue is the long term affordability of broadband which has been compromised by the regulator’s unusual assent to deferred revenue increases at NBN Co.
The article can be found by clicking Economuse 2015-03-12
The ACCC regulates the price of terminating calls on mobile networks. The bottom-up cost model it has been using was built around technology that is old. It is rightly concerned that any new bottom-up cost model based base on 3G could soon become redundant when operators start to carry voice over 4G – which they will within the term of the pricing determination.
With 4G (where voice will be IP based) and the NBN, there is no need to distinguish between voice and data as all traffic is bytes. The tried and tested way of exchanging bytes is peering and transit – which are unregulated. There are no termination fees for voice and SMS now – if they are carried as bytes over apps like Skype and Whatsapp. In this emerging context, there is no need to model costs or to regulate termination.
In the short term, the ACCC is considering using “actual costs” to model costs from the top-down – which is the same as the Building Block Method (BBM) the ACCC is now using in the fixed network. That seems the best approach for now. But, when voice becomes data (4G), the ACCC can step aside and leave it to the market.
To read the opinion piece, click here: Economuse 2014-08-08