Commerce Commission fines ISP MyRepublic $2000, threatens $300K next time

Internet service provider MyRepublic has been fined $2000 and issued a civil infringement notice after the regulator had to pursue it for months to gets its financials.

It was the second year in a row that the watchdog had tangled with the ISP.

The ComCom says if MyRepublic offends for a third time, it will face a pecuniary penalty of up to $300,000.

Each year, the regulator seeks revenue numbers from every telecommunications company, the better to ascertain the share it should pay of the Telecommunications Development Levy – a $50 million per annum tax on the industry that helps fund broadband to remote rural areas, emergency callng services and for the hearing-impaired.

Under the Telecommunications Act, liable companies must provide the Commission with annual audited financial information that the Commission can use to apportion the levy.

MyRepublic failed to provide the required information by the due date and only did so after being pursued by the Commission for several months. MyRepublic was issued with a written warning for a similar breach in 2018.

“MyRepublic has now breached its TDL obligations for two years in a row,” Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson says.

Telecommunications Development Levy share for the year to June 2019. Source / Commerce Commission
Telecommunications Development Levy share for the year to June 2019. Source / Commerce Commission

“This is unacceptable. It undermines the integrity of the system and is unfair on the New Zealanders who depend on the critical infrastructure and services supported by TDL funds.”

For FY2019, the ComCom-MyRepublic spat was over chump change, with MyRepulic’s share of the TDL (based on its share of total qualifying industry revenue) working out to just 0.09 per cent or $43,000.

MyRepublic group director Vaughan Baker could not be immediately reached. Earlier in the dispute process, the executive refused to comment.

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