Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Minister wants to have her cake and eat it too

Minister wants to have her cake and eat it too

TUANZ (the Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand) warns users that the government’s Telecommunications Review discussion document allows Chorus to pocket price its copper broadband services in areas where it isn’t building the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre network.

Chorus has won 70% of the UFB project and is working alongside local fibre companies (LFCs) Northpower (in Northland), Ultra Fast Fibre (in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty region) and Enable (in Christchurch) to roll out the fibre to the home project.

However, in those areas where Chorus isn’t rolling out fibre, the Minister of Communications Amy Adams has expressly allowed Chorus to price its copper lines below the regulated price.

“Chorus can set wholesale prices below the regulated price cap to match competition from fibre in those areas, if necessary to compete effectively with the LFCs,” says the discussion document.

This flies in the face of the government’s stated aim of ensuring users move from copper to fibre, says TUANZ CEO Paul Brislen.

“The minister has usurped the role of the regulator in order to keep Chorus’s copper prices artificially high, ostensibly in order to smooth the transition from copper to fibre, yet in these specific areas the Minister is encouraging Chorus to fight to keep customers on copper. If it’s OK for Chorus to drop its prices in order to compete with the LFCs, why isn’t it OK for Chorus to drop its prices for everyone?”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Brislen says the three LFCs are doing a tremendous job of rolling out the UFB and are ahead of schedule.

“I’m told not only are they going to finish before Chorus, they’ll beat the government deadline of the end of 2019 as well. In addition to that, uptake of UFB services by customers in the areas controlled by the three LFCs is well ahead of the average, something that should be encouraged, yet here we have a Minister allowing Chorus to try to stem that tide. You can’t have it both ways – either we want customers on fibre or we don’t.”

TUANZ is calling on the Minister to allow the Commerce Commission to continue with its pricing determination rather than this knee-jerk reaction to protect Chorus’s shareholders.

“Chorus said if the price of copper broadband drops to the Commission’s draft price it wouldn’t derail the rollout of UFB, yet the Minister has stepped in to give Chorus a bonus payment running to hundreds of millions of dollars. That is money that should be going to the customers who have paid too much for broadband for too many years.”


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two

The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More

Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.