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Chorus responds to Brislen, IDC "nuclear option" theory

NBR asked Chorus to respond to the "nuclear option" theory put forward variously by Tuanz CEO Paul Brislen and IDC telecommunications research manager Peter Wise.

That is, Chorus provides most of us with pretty good copper broadband speeds. But legally, it's only obliged to provide ISPs with a minimum 32Kbit/s copper broadband - dialup rather than actual broadband speed. 

Mr Wise notes that while regulatory wranging continues, including the multi-year final pricing priciples review, Chorus could throw it's toys out of the cot and say that if the Commerce Commission's going to play by the letter of the law, it will too, and throttle most of our copper DSL broadband back to miserable dialup speed.

Telecommunciations Users Association boss Brislen comes at things from a slightly different angle. He wrote earlier this week, "I'm hearing growing concern from ISPs that Chrous will begin enforcing this handover rate as a way to get more money out of the ISPs. If customers complained en masse, an ISP would be forced to buy a more expensive service from Chorus, Mr Brislen speculates.

Chorus spokesman Ian Bonnar responded late Friday, refusing to put the rumour to bed.

"I can confirm that we are currently providing broadband to a significantly higher standard than is required by law," Mr Bonnar told NBR.

"As you saw from the Minister’s announcement yesterday, our current focus is engaging with Crown Fibre Holdings with regard to our contract to build UFB.

"There’s a lot of rumours and speculation out in the industry about things we could do the moment but we’re not going to get into commenting on each one."

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

"Nice little network we have here. Be a shame if anything happened to it"

Just shows you the arrogance of monopolies and the people that work for them

Not really - at the moment they are providing a better service than they have to - the regulated prices make this uneconomical. So you dial back the service to the regulated level, and then provide the ability for ISPs to pay an additional amount to receive "full speed". The additional amount could be the difference between the regulated price and the current price.

At which point everybody continues to get the same service, at the same price with the regulator happy as their regulated prices are enforced, government happy as they haven't had to step in and UFB on track, customers happy as they are no worse off than before. The only people who lose out are the ISPs who stood to make large amounts of money from the regulated price drop, and who weren't going to pass this on to their customers.

love the idea,

Well, if they do start providing only the legal minimum I'll know who to thank for suggesting the option to them...

Yes of course, you can thank the Commerce Commission. For dictating a pricing regime that has no bearing on the reality of running a copper network in NZ where 99.9% of the population lives in houses all very separate from each other, unlike Swedish and Danish apartment or attached townhouse dwellers.

You work for the Commerce Commission as a Telecommunications analyst, do you.

Why do we still continue to be "a dollar short & a day late" with everything in this country. Just hand it over to the Aussies & be done with it. !

You mean hand the network build over to Australia? The country that's abandoning it's fibre rollout and replacing it with a FTTN network that will deliver by 2017 performance that NZ has had since 2011?

I have the Vodafone cable to my house, I wouldn't touch copper ever again, it was tediously slow at peak times now and it will only get worse.
Shame Vodafone has no competition for their UFB and is working hard to stifle the competition

Great idea to throttle back the copper broadband speed. Chorus can then offer a "premium" service for $12 a month extra, for full speed. (Vodafone already does it, calling their coax cable a premium service and charges more)

Marvellous creative thinking by Chorus. It will of course allow the ISPs to pass on additional charges for improved service directly to customers as line item: 'Chorus tax'. This seems like a very direct route to entirely trashing the Chorus brand and regulatory gottdammerung that will make the effect of the Commission'ss UBA decision look mild by comparison.