NZ's ComCom consulting on UFB migration rules
New Zealand’s Commerce Commission is seeking feedback on proposed new consumer safeguards involving the migration of copper-based voice and broadband services to the Ultrafast Broadband fibre network.
Recent legislative changes will allow UFB operator Chorus to transition the remaining copper customers to fibre from 2020.
Chorus was structurally separated from former government owned fixed-line monopoly Telecom New Zealand in 2011, inheriting its predecessor’s nationwide copper network.
Telecom New Zealand agreed to separate into wholesale and retail businesses (its retail business is now Spark NZ) as a condition for securing the UFB contract.
To ensure customers are not disadvantaged during the transition to fibre, the commission plans to develop a code of rules that must be followed before Chorus is allowed to stop providing copper services in areas where fibre is available.
Under the proposed code, before Chorus will be able to withdraw a copper service there must be an equivalent fibre service readily available at no extra cost to the consumer. Chorus must also provide information about available fibre services and provide adequate notices of the withdrawal.
“As fibre services become available across most areas in New Zealand, consumers are likely to make the switch from copper to fibre, making the copper network more costly for Chorus to maintain,” New Zealand Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.
“Recent legislative changes will therefore allow Chorus to transition the remaining copper consumers to fibre from 2020.”
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