By Margreet Dietz
Nov. 14 (BusinessDesk) - Chorus has announced plans to reduce the wholesale price of its premium fibre product in mid-2019 and again in mid-2020. Meanwhile, it has increased the number of ultra-fast broadband connections on its network to 500,000, a 25 percent gain in the past six months.
In April, telecommunications network operator Chorus reached 400,000 fibre connections, meaning an additional 100,000 premises have been connected in the last six months, Chorus said in a statement. By comparison, it took five years to connect the first 100,000 customers to fibre.
“While demand for fibre has been strong for some time, during recent months demand has particularly surged,” Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie said in a statement. “As more New Zealanders connect to fibre, consumers are also moving away from entry-level plans towards higher specification plans to ensure they get the very best experience.”
To further stimulate demand, Chorus said it will cut the wholesale price for the residential gigabit service to $60 a month, down from $65 a month, from the middle of next year. And there are plans for a further reduction to $56 in mid-2020. Retailer service providers add their own margin to the wholesale price, independent of Chorus, the company said.
“The demand for fibre broadband has been rapidly increasing and even more so now as more content moves online and New Zealanders prepare to live stream the Rugby World Cup and other sporting events in 2019,” McKenzie said.
“There’s no sign of demand for fibre slowing down. As Chorus crosses the country laying fibre, more Kiwis can, and are, taking advantage of faster, more reliable broadband connections.
“New Zealanders are downloading, streaming high-definition TV, and gaming at a huge rate and the likely impact of online TV will continue to be felt in peak network traffic growth,” she said. “What these numbers are overwhelmingly telling us is that as a nation our average data use is growing fast, and it will continue to grow faster in the coming years, so being on the best available fibre connection is vital.”
Chorus contracts out its installation work, and those contracted service firms have added 185 crews in the past year to meet escalating demand, the company said earlier this month, adding that it is refining processes to lift productivity and ease the effort required by customers to get connected.
Chorus shares closed at $5.02 on Tuesday, having surged more than 22 percent in the past year.