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NEW ZEALAND

"In passing the Radiocommunications Act [of 1989] and its subsequent amendments, New Zealand was the first country to redefine radio spectrum in terms of property rights, and to assign it in a tradable form... Such low power, ubiquitous devices as garage door-openers and CB radio are assigned spectrum under General User Licences (GULs)..." ---from "New Zealand Regulatory & Policy Update," by Kester Gordon, 31st meeting of the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group, Bangkok, April 2005.

  • "For radio transmitters not covered by a General User Licence an application can be made for an exemption from licensing under regulation 10 of Radiocommunications Regulations 2001. Each application will be dealt with on its merits and in accordance with the Act and Regulations. Exemptions will only be considered if, in the opinion of the Chief Executive, a radio licence is not required for the efficient and effective management of the radio spectrum." ---Ministry of Economic Development website. See Section 116 (1) (c) of the (amended) Radiocommunications Act 1989, authorising the regulator to "grant exemptions from the requirement for a radio licence..."
  • "Radiocommunications Regulations (General User Radio Licence for Short Range Devices) Notice 2007" New Zealand Gazette, 5 April 2007: this amendment to the 2003 regulations opens the 5470 - 5725 MHz and 57 - 64 GHz bands as "public commons" under a General Users Licence. Here is the NZ Government's press release.
  • "Review of Spectrum Allocations for Short Range Devices: Summary of Submissions and Conclusions" - results of a public consultation that ended 24 September 2004 (222KB, PDF).
  • "New Zealand's 'three-strikes' to end public Wi-Fi?" by Jared Moya, ZeroPaid, 18 April 2011: "The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, though it repeals the controversial Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act, still holds the owner of an Internet connection liable for all actions carried out by any user of that connection... unless you treat business Internet connections differently from those at home you're going to lead to an end to public Wi-Fi as we know it..."
  • "WiFi operators are ISPs so not liable for copyright breaches: Computer Society," by Stephen Bell, ComputerWorld, 30 May 2011: "......in the terms of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, passed under urgency in May, wifi operators could be construed as Internet Protocol Access Providers (IPAPs)... However, being classed as IPAPs leaves wifi operators with the responsibility of policing the issuing of notices to alleged offenders and, in particular, of identifying such users and establishing which of them are repeat infringers. These obligations are spelt out in the lengthy Section 122 of the amendment act... In its submission on the regulations, the Computer Society contends a wifi operator cannot be defined as an IPAP, since the definition in the amendment act excludes entities that provide Internet services as an 'incidental feature of [their] main business activities' and those who cater for transient users. Being defined as an account holder is not the only alternative, the society says. The definition of an internet service provider still exists in Section 92B of the principal Copyright Act. This section, headed 'internet service provider liability if user infringes copyright' 'specifically indemnifies those meeting the broader definition of internet service provider against civil remedy or criminal sanction caused by a user utilising their service to infringe copyright, providing said ISP complies with all requirements outlined in the Act,' says the Society’s submission... 'There is an argument there, I suppose,' says intellectual property and ICT lawyer Rick Shera when asked to comment on the NZCS submission; but other people involved will doubtless have different views, he says. 'The upshot of it all is that it's very confusing.'"
  • "Spectrum Allocations for Ultra Wide Band Technology" - a collection of documents including an engineering study, regulatory proposals, a summary of the comments received in a public consultation, and the October 2005 announcement of a "General User Licence (GUL) for vehicular radar at 24 GHz on a 'non-interference, non-protected' basis until 30 June 2013..."
  • "Information on the operation of Wireless LAN and Related Systems in the 2 GHz and 5 GHz Bands," Ministry of Economic Development.
  • "New Zealand proposes wireless 'managed parks' " openspectrum.info, 5 July 2006.
  • "Wellington first for free wi-fi," by Dave Burgess, The Dominion Post (via Stuff.nz), 26 May 2011: "Wellington will become the first city in New Zealand to provide free wireless internet - wi-fi - across most of its central business district, with a council-run network starting before the Rugby World Cup. All internet sites will be accessible with the network but Wellington City Council could block some if problems emerge. The council will provide $80,000 to establish the network and $216,000 a year to maintain it, but hopes to recover money through sponsorship of its access page..."
  • "Otara clubhouse launches free community Wi-Fi," by James Heffield, PC World, 31 May 2010: "Hundreds of residents in one of Auckland's poorest suburbs now have free Wi-Fi access as part of a joint government and corporate initiative to spread computer literacy. The free Wi-Fi, provided to Otara residents through the Computer Clubhouse 274 initiative, was among a swag of program improvements announced last week... Clubhouse CEO Mike Usmar said a Rural Link network of 31 radio antennas placed around Otara provided free Wi-Fi to the residents of more than 550 homes located within 4.5km of the clubhouse. The Wi-Fi was open and... could cope with least 300-400 users downloading simultaneously, he said... There are three other similar Computer Clubhouses in New Zealand, in Hamilton, Wanganui, and Wellington and three more are expected to launch this year. Usman said the next clubhouse to launch, in Whakatane, would provide free Wi-Fi to most of Whakatane's residents by the end of June... If the Otara and Whakatane Wi-Fi models were successful, free Wi-Fi was likely to be launched across all New Zealand computer clubhouses in coming months, Usman said."
  • "Wi-Fi for free an encouraging signal," New Zealand Herald, (via VoIP for SMB), 14 March 2007: "Free wireless internet is being provided by Parnell's local business organisation to encourage more activity in the area. It is the first of what is likely to be many other similar projects around the country... Peter Macauley, former program manager for the Government's Digital Strategy, said the Parnell project was part of an emerging national trend for community organisations to set up wireless networks to complement existing broadband networks... 'It is exciting when a bunch of business people get together and decide that broadband connectivity is an issue for their customers, not just for their businesses, and decide to provide it. That shows a different view of the world from what we have had..'..."
  • "Auckland Wi-Fi tender may not prove tempting," by Tom Pullar-Strecker, The Dominion Post (via Stuff), 25 June 2007: "Auckland City Council... hopes to encourage a telco to build a Wi-Fi network that residents and visitors could use to get wireless access to the Internet at speeds of two megabits per second from outdoor public spaces in the CBD and its fringes. It will soon also invite expressions of interest from telcos willing to build a 100 kilometre 'dark fibre' urban fibre optic network that would criss-cross several suburbs, passing within 200 metres of 6600 businesses and 82 schools... The council might contribute some capital funding and would let suppliers use its infrastructure, such as underground ducts, to lay fibre. Economic development manager Karen Lyons says the council does not want to own or pay for the Wi-Fi network, but would let the network operator install access equipment on the council's buildings and street lights and would help market and promote it..."
  • "Copyright law could end free library internet," by Dan Satherley, 3 News, 20 May 2011: "Free internet access at libraries across New Zealand is under threat thanks to upcoming changes to the copyright laws. From September 1, anyone illegally downloading copyrighted material could face a fine of up to $15,000 thanks to last month's passing of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment bill. The catch for libraries - and other providers of public internet access, like McDonald's and cafes - is that under the law, it is the account holder that is responsible for what is downloaded on their connection, not necessarily the individual, a situation that has them worried. 'This is almost unworkable, and it's going to prove to be unworkable very quickly,' says Tony Millett of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand and Aotearoa (LIANZA). 'The whole thing is an absolute nightmare and we really don't see how it is going to work.' Because many libraries offer an open wi-fi network – where people can connect to the internet wirelessly from their own computers, without supplying any personal information – keeping track of who is downloading what is not only difficult, but potentially very expensive... 'It would be a sad day for free access to information if we ended up in a situation where the internet was shut down or heavily restricted,' says Mr Haines... But some free wi-fi providers - like McDonald's - use filters to block a range of sites they deem unsuitable... This isn't an option for libraries, says Mr Millett, because they are 'specifically in the business of providing access to information, whereas McDonald's is primarily in the business of selling hamburgers...'"
  • "Early analogue switchoff keeps NZ in the picture," by John Drinnan, New Zealand Herald, 18 September 2010: "Broadcasters and telcos were relieved on Thursday when the Government brought forward the date for analogue switchoff - and a phased shift to wholly digital broadcasting by November 2013. The change... is two years ahead of the Government's promise of going digital by 2015, which could have seen New Zealand trailing other countries in the OECD... The digital revolution is part of a much wider and rapidly growing change in how we consume media. It opens the door to interactivity and convergence between TV and the internet..."
  • "Providers call for more spectrum in New Zealand," Rethink Research, 14 June 2006: WiMax providers say the channels available to them in the (licensed) 3.5 GHz band are too narrow to compete against DSL. The (unlicensed) 5.8 GHz band has adequate bandwidth but they fear the interference risk of unlicensed bands.
  • Archive of the "nzwireless" email list.
  • New Zealand Spectrum Management - A Decade in Review: 1989-1999 by the Radio Spectrum Management Group, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand, 2000 (110 pages in English).
  • "Big firms put off RFID trial," by Tom Pullar-Strecker, The Dominion Post (via Stuff), 14 Mary 2007: "The Pathfinder group, a industry consortium backed by Fonterra, Progressive Enterprises and The Warehouse, had planned to kick-start the adoption of RFID technology this year by running a trial that would have seen manufacturers, transport companies and retailers ship tagged goods to one another. Gary Hartley, the New Zealand development manager of international barcode and RFID standards body GS1, says the trial has been deferred indefinitely. Pathfinder Group chairman Alan Mayo says the industry group has decided further feasibility studies are first needed to better understand the business case for RFID in different industries..."
  • "Remote Islands, Pop. 717, Seek Wireless Network," by Jeff Goldman, Wireless Weblog, 1 October 2006.
  • "Radio Spectrum Management and Development - Interim Report," Waitangi Tribunal Report, 1999. New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori, have claimed "a right to a fair and equitable share in the radio spectrum resource" managed by the Government of New Zealand. One day before the Government was to auction the 2 GHz band, the Waitangi Tribunal, "a permanent commission of inquiry" that tries to resolve disagreements between the Maori and the Government, made an "interim" declaration that the Maori's spectrum claim was "well founded" - but they could not reach consensus on what to do about it. This followed an earlier Tribunal report from 1990 which found the Maori were entitled to frequencies for broadcasting in their native language. For more background, see "The Maori Broadcasting Claim: A Pakeha Economist's Perspective" by Brian Easton (1 September 1990. Easton played a key role in researching and formulating the Maori claims, which could be relevant to questions of spectrum "ownership" in other countries with indigenous populations.) See also Maori Council chairman Maanu Paul's explanation of how their claim led to the formation of a Maori Spectrum Trust with the right to buy one of four 3G mobile licenses at a discount price.
  • "Maori bid for deal on spectrum," by Tom Pullar-Strecker, The Dominion Post, 7 December 2009: "A Maori delegation has met Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to put the case for Maori to be given preferential rights to radio spectrum released by the Government... The Economic Development Ministry is considering how best to carve up 'digital dividend' radio spectrum estimated to be worth more than $100 million that will be freed up by the closure of analogue television between 2013 and 2015. The ministry is consulting on whether Maori should be given special rights to some of that spectrum, which is likely to be used to broadcast digital television and support new 4G cellphone and wireless broadband networks. Te Huarahi Tika Trust, part owner of 2degrees, has written to the ministry, arguing that public consultations on the spectrum are not a substitute for 'a formal negotiation process with Maori as a treaty partner'..."
  • "Maori Council wants control of 4G spectrum", TV New Zealand, 18 June 2010: "The introduction of 4G is still at least three years away, but Maori say they want ownership of the radio frequency used to deliver the technology. The Maori Council claims it is entitled to the new telecommunications 4G spectrum under the Treaty of Waitangi as the Waitangi Tribunal ruled spectrum was a taonga (treasure), making it Maori property under Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi... Communications Minister Steven Joyce is pouring cold water on the Maori Council claims. 'The government won't consider handing over, in any respect, the 4G spectrum to any single player including Maori,' says Joyce. Joyce says successive governments have not accepted that spectrum is a taonga..."
  • "New spectrum allocations for radio ID tags, smart metering networks," Government of New Zealand press release, 24 June 2010: "...An immediate change is to allow higher power short-range devices in the 921.5 - 928 MHz frequency range. This meets existing demand for RFID use in particular. A full list of the changes and the Ministry of Economic Development's report on the project is available at www.rsm.govt.nz..."

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