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New Zealand was the first country to open its entire telecommunications market to competitive entry in 1989. Telecom New Zealand was privatised in August 1990, and today all major competitors are privately owned. The telecommunications market is made up of the three major service providers (Chorus, Spark/Telecom and Vodafone/Telstra Clear) and a number of smaller providers.

There is good mobile coverage in New Zealand with competitive service offerings from the three mobile network operators (Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees).

New Zealand has good availability of fixed broadband access (over 95% of dwellings). The first phase of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) Initiative will make fibre-based broadband connection available to 75% of New Zealanders by 2019. Funding of this initiative by the Government is complemented by investment from private sector partners. Plans are under development to extend the initiative for making fibre connection available to at least a further 5% of the population.

The companion Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is aimed at improving broadband availability outside of UFB areas. The initiative involves upgrading network infrastructure to improve both the service performance of copper line broadband and the availability of fixed wireless broadband in areas where acceptable copper line broadband is not available. The Government has allocated licences to mobile operators to use spectrum in the 700MgHz band to extend the coverage of 4G networks.

A Telecommunications Commissioner within the Commerce Commission administers regulated telecommunication services, which include network interconnection, telephone number portability and wholesale telecommunication services. The Commissioner's key functions are to make determinations for regulated services, to report to the Minister of Communications on the desirability of regulating services and to allocate the telecommunications development levy across telecommunications service providers. The Government is currently reviewing the telecommunications regulatory regime.

Postal services are provided by New Zealand Post Limited, a commercially-run SOE, and a range of private providers. New Zealand Post used its retail network to expand into retail banking in 2002, setting up Kiwibank, with a further expansion into business banking in 2005. New Zealand Post did not have the resources to fund the establishment of the bank itself, so the Government made a one-off investment of up to $78.2 million in New Zealand Post to fund the establishment expenses and capital expenditure involved, and to ensure there was sufficient capital to meet RBNZ requirements. Since then, New Zealand Post has made further capital injections to bring Kiwibank's share capital to $400 million at 30 June 2015. The Government neither guarantees the bank nor subsidises its ongoing operations. Kiwibank announced an after-tax profit of $127 million for the year ended 30 June 2015. This compares with a profit of $100 million for the previous 12 months.

Two major national radio networks, as well as a network that relays parliamentary proceedings, are provided by Radio New Zealand Limited, a Crown entity operating under a non-commercial charter. There are numerous private radio stations.

Television New Zealand Limited (TVNZ) is the Crown-owned national television broadcaster. The Television New Zealand Act 2013, as amended in 2011, specifies the functions of TVNZ to be "a successful television and media company providing a range of content and services on a choice of delivery platforms and maintain its commercial performance". TVNZ provides two commercial free-to-air digital television channels, plus four additional digital channels. The state also funds the Māori Television Service, a statutory corporation, for the purpose of promoting Māori language and culture. Private television operators provide a number of other national and regional channels. Pay TV services are available from satellite and, in some areas, cable delivery platforms.

There are five major daily metropolitan newspapers in the main centres and numerous provincial and community newspapers, all of which are privately owned. In addition, there is a national weekly business paper, three Sunday newspapers, a number of wire services and a growing number of internet news services (including offerings from the major newspaper groups) and blog sites.

Information Technology

The information technology (IT) industry is a fast-growing sector of the New Zealand economy attracting large volumes of investment, for both established and start-up businesses. The sector generates strong export growth and invests heavily in research and development (R&D), with around a third of the firms in the industry undertaking R&D in 2012, four times the New Zealand average. Within the industry, IT services and software development are the fastest growing subsectors, while the share of IT manufacturing remains relatively small.

IT services businesses, which include many multinational firms, are primarily focused on the domestic market. These firms provide IT infrastructure and consultancy to large organisations and government departments, enabling efficiency gain and boosting productivity in other industries, and contribute to the digitisation of the economy.

IT software product firms are focused on developing new, often tailor-made applications for particular clients and industries, and generally invest heavily in research and development. Certain product developments (eg, in accountancy software) are expected to lead to radical changes in some industries over time, and a decline in others. The more successful IT product firms have the potential to become large multinational businesses, with Australia and North America being the primary markets driving IT exports growth. IT exporters reported access to finance and distance as the main barriers, although there are fewer concerns about exchange rate risks compared to other New Zealand exporters.

Screen Industry

The New Zealand Film Commission was established in 1978 to finance distinctly New Zealand films, with the aim of reaching significant New Zealand audiences and producing high returns on investment in both financial and cultural terms. More than 300 feature films and hundreds of short films have been made in New Zealand since the Commission was established. Around half of these have received Film Commission finance, while the remainder have been financed by local and, increasingly, by major offshore production companies.

New Zealand's screen industry continues to gain international prominence following the success of several big budget productions filmed in New Zealand such as the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies, King Kong and Avatar, as well as numerous medium and small budget films produced by New Zealand and offshore companies. Wellington is the centre for film production and post-production based around Sir Peter Jackson's Wingnut Films studios and Sir Richard Taylor's Weta Workshops, both with a world-wide reputation for excellence and innovation. Auckland remains the centre for television productions.

The New Zealand screen industry recorded gross revenue of $3.16 billion in the 2013/14 financial year, making the value of this industry comparable to the forestry and horticulture sectors.

The screen production industry is characterised by a large number of small freelancers and contractors working both independently and in coordination with larger production and broadcasting companies.

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