ComCom to run ruler over new Chorus products

Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe
Chorus 12-month price history (NZX.com)

The Commerce Commission will look at a handful of new products that network operator Chorus [NZX: CNU] plans to roll out to see whether they need to be regulated.

Earlier this month Chorus announced new products to be delivered on its copper line network, and the commission is required to see whether they can be priced separately from the regulated services. The services would increase the reliability of high-definition video services on Chorus's copper network, it said.

The regulator expects to consult on a draft decision late next month, with a final decision in late July.

"This recognises the substantial level of industry interest in the current final pricing principle of the UBA (unbundled bitstream access) price, and the importance of allowing all interested parties to comment on any commission decision that may be relevant to the scope of the regulated service," the commission said in a statement.

Last year the commission proposed cutting the network operator’s pricing on its copper line services, which Chorus said left a $1 billion hole in the funding for the roll out of the government-sponsored UFB. In March, Crown Fibre Holdings gave Chorus greater flexibility in building the network provided it meets the agreed deadline, and has aligned funding with completed work.

Chorus is appealing a High Court ruling upholding the way the regulator set a theoretical price for services on the copper lines, and has also requested a more complete final pricing principle method is used to set the price. The regulator anticipates it will come up with a final price by April next year.

The Wellington-based company's shares were unchanged at $1.71 today, and having gained 19 percent this year, after being punished last year when regulatory uncertainty was at its greatest.

(BusinessDesk)

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