Commerce Commission names first fibre-only regions

Commission working on consumer protections for copper withdrawal code

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The Commerce Commission has identified the first regions in which Chorus will no longer be required to provide services over copper because of the widespread availability of fibre.

The initial areas contain approximately 1.5 million households and businesses and are mainly in major towns and cities across New Zealand.

The commission has enabled the areas to be found from an interactive map, but has not individually identified any of them. The earliest date at which copper services can be withdrawn will be in mid 2020.

In October the commission published a paper setting out the framework and approach it would use to determine the areas in which copper services could be shut down.

This followed a consultation initiated in November 2018 when the commission sought feedback on the consumer protections and proposed process that would regulate when Chorus could stop providing copper-based voice and broadband services in areas where fibre broadband is available.

One component of that will be a ‘Commission 111 contact code’ that will require retailers to ensure  ‘vulnerable consumers’ have—at no cost—an appropriate means of contacting 111 for emergency services in the event of a power outage.

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

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