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First areas identified for copper telco transition


The Commerce Commission has published an interactive map showing its initial assessment of locations where Chorus will eventually be able to stop providing copper services, such as landlines and ADSL or VDSL broadband, because fibre is available.

The earliest Chorus can stop supplying these services is from mid-2020 and only in the areas where fibre is available to be installed in homes and once certain consumer protections are in place.

The Commission is developing the consumer protections to be included in a copper withdrawal code and will release a draft code for consultation early next year.

“New Zealand is transitioning from delivering home landline and broadband services via the copper network to faster and more reliable fibre and mobile networks. By 2022 most New Zealanders are expected to have access to fibre at home. That means large parts of the copper network may no longer be needed,” Head of Telecommunications Simon Thomson said.

“Specifying these areas is the first step in Chorus eventually being allowed to withdraw copper services. Chorus may also choose to continue supplying copper services where fibre is available. If fibre is not available in your area, then nothing will change.”

The initial assessment of specified fibre areas (SFAs) covers approximately 1.5 million households and businesses mainly in major towns and cities across New Zealand. The assessment is based on information provided by Chorus and local fibre companies Northpower Fibre, Ultrafast Fibre, and Enable Networks. The Commission is required to assess SFAs at least annually.

More information on SFAs can be found here.

The interactive map showing the initial SFAs can be found here.

Background
The Commission encourages consumers to prepare for the transition to new phone and broadband technologies by:

• Checking with your phone and broadband provider what technology you are on and investigating what new technologies are available in your area. Try searching your address on www.broadbandmap.nz

• If you’ve got a fibre landline, make sure you’ve got a basic mobile phone (and keep it charged) or battery backup available, as landlines provided over fibre and mobile networks are unlikely to work in a power cut

• Be aware that cordless phones may not work in a power cut, even if you still have a copper landline. Make sure you have a backup corded phone or mobile phone in case the power goes out.

The Commission is also working on a code to make sure vulnerable consumers have an appropriate means of contacting 111 in a power cut. This is because fibre landlines rely on power in the home and may not work during power outages.

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