New Zealand Labour Party

Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households

New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says.

“In an apparent attempt to appease everyone, the Commission’s decision is a victory for the status quo.

“The Government will undoubtedly be pleased as they are hoping it takes the heat away from a campaign for fairer prices on the legacy network.

“And Chorus stands to win the most as the decision largely protects it from a loss of earnings.

“But for Kiwi consumers the decision doesn’t mean the end of this interminable fight and possibly being forced to pay more for a household utility than they really need to. 

"It still leaves questions about what’s being done to ensure a transition from households on copper broadband to fibre.

“That’s the elephant in the room, and it means millions of dollars are being wasted by the telecommunications industry fighting over the price of a legacy network.

 “The exhausting battle between the telcos and Chorus over revenue margins and shareholder returns is getting us nowhere while the Commerce Commission attempts to find middle ground without provoking government intervention.

“In the 2000s New Zealand was able to responsibly manage the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting without huge disruption to households or to individual businesses.

“It was an industry-led process with government assistance to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities did not lose access to a television service.

“That is the process we should be following to assist Kiwi households to switch from the old network to fibre, not a drawn-out process dominated by lawyers, government bungling and higher internet prices,” Clare Curran says.