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Chorus among those liable for telco levy, but Sky gets a free pass

Sky has escaped paying a telecommunications levy but Chorus won't be immune.

The Commerce Commission has named 29 companies it believes should cough up for an industry levy.

The $50 million Telecomunications Development Levy (TDL) will fund telecommunications service obligation charges, rural networks and upgrades to the emergency calling services

Only fixed or wireless public network operators earning more than $10 million a year qualify for the levy including new local fibre companies and Chorus, but excludes Sky and other content providers as they are not telecommunications network operators, according to regulation general manager Dr John Hamill.

A key issue that arose from submissions was whether Chorus, which argued that it should be exempt because it was not trading an an independent company last year, was liable.

TelstraClear, Telecom, Vodafone, Kordia, Vector and 2degrees agreed with the commission’s preliminary view that Chorus was a "liable person", and that has been upheld with a new report concluding Chorus was “trading” in the 2010/11 year and therefore qualifies. See more here.

The next step is for the commission to consult on what revenue will count toward the $50 million levy obligation.