The Commerce Commission is calling for industry feedback on its draft copper withdrawal code, which is intended to dictate how and when Chorus can shift end customers from its legacy copper network to new network infrastructure.
The draft code, which has been in works for a while, sets minimum requirements that the country’s largest telco infrastructure provider must meet before it will be able to stop providing copper services, such as landlines and ADSL or VDSL broadband, to a consumer.
As noted in the draft code, as part of the government’s ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative, fibre companies have been deploying fibre networks across New Zealand over the last decade.
As such, by 2022, most New Zealanders are expected to have access to fibre at home, which means that large parts of the traditional copper phone and broadband network may no longer be needed.
The draft code sets out minimum consumer protection requirements to ensure that consumers are protected in situations where Chorus seeks to stop supplying copper-based telecommunications services
“The code ensures consumers who are still using copper services will get at least six months’ notice, be provided with information about moving to fibre, and – if they order it – have fibre installed at their home before the copper services can be stopped,” Telecommunications Commissioner Stephen Gale said.
"The earliest Chorus can stop supplying these services is after the code is finalised from late-2020 and only in the areas where fibre is available to be installed in homes and once the consumer protections of the code are met.
“In areas where fibre is not currently available Chorus must continue to supply services over the copper network,” he added.
Now that the draft code is up for public review, the Commerce Commission is calling for feedback from industry and other stakeholders.
“We are inviting feedback from individual consumers and advocacy groups about the proposed code,” Gale said. “We’re also interested in hearing views about any additional protections needed for consumers during the transition to fibre that could be addressed by the code.
Submissions, which can be made via the Commission's website, are open until 17 July 2020.
The final code is expected to be finalised and published in September 2020.