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Telecom charges not just a rural issue

Telecom charges not just a rural issue

National’s Commerce spokesman, Tony Ryall, says Telecom’s controversial new connection charges are not just hitting a few people in remote rural areas.

“They’re also hammering homeowners on the fringes of major cities and towns, some living just 10 minutes’ drive from town centres.

“Since yesterday, we’ve heard of at least three cases in the coastal Bay of Plenty where customers are being unfairly hit by Telecom’s new charges:

· A couple in Omanawa, near Tauranga, who need three phone lines to run their businesses, have been quoted $1500 for each connection. They live 10 minutes’ drive from Tauranga city.

· A couple with a new home in a rural subdivision, less than 10 minutes’ drive from downtown Whakatane, have been quoted $3000 to connect to the Telecom network. The cables have already been laid to the house. Connecting to the local electricity network – Horizon Energy – costs $150.

· A couple that has built in another subdivision near Whakatane face a $3000 bill to connect. They cannot get cellphone coverage at their property because of the terrain.

“These people are being shafted simply because the Government didn’t ensure the matter was sorted out when it renegotiated the Kiwishare agreement less than 12 months ago.

“The Communications Minister talks of further discussion with Telecom next week to progress the matter. In the meantime, the line’s dead for frustrated customers needing a phone,” says Mr Ryall. Ends

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