NZ Telecom seals Chorus demerger

Telecom New Zealand (ASX:TEL) has completed the demerger of its Chorus division, making way for its participation in the country’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative.

NZ Telecom shareholders voted in favour of the demerger in October after Chorus was selected by Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH) to deploy and operate the UFB build to 830,000 premises in 24 of the 33 candidate areas. It will join Enable Networks, Northpower Limited and Ultrafast Fibre Limited.

The UFB, New Zealand’s equivalent of the National Broadband Network (NBN), aims to deliver at least 5Mbps broadband to 80 per cent of rural households, with the remainder on at least 1Mbps, and connect at least 93 per cent of New Zealand schools to fibre.

“We’re transitioning from being a Telecom business unit to a trusted supplier, maintaining and building the network which allows all Retails Service Providers to deliver the services their customers rely on,” Chorus chief executive, Mark Ratcliffe, said in a statement.

The company has committed to rolling out fibre to 43,000 premises as well as 700 schools by July 2012.

Chorus has also confirmed the appointment of new chairman, board member and executive team, effective from 1 December, 2011.

As previously announced, Sue Sheldon took on the role of chairman, joined by the new board members, and Andy Carroll filled the role of chief financial officer.

New Zealand's telecom ministry recently approved the telco’s modified pledge to provide open access to the nation's public-private broadband networks.

Communications minister, Stephen Joyce, agreed to the terms of the deeds of undertaking submitted by Telecom NZ, as well as the government's other broadband partners, which covers the UFB project and involves pledges from each of the project participants — Telecom NZ, Enable Networks, WEL Networks and Northpower.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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