Orcon moves into Telecom South Island exchanges

ISP continues to expand its "unbundling" programme, moving its own DSL gear into more Telecom exchanges - allowing for cheaper deals.

State-owned internet service provider Orcon continues to expand its unbundling programme.

Unbundling - the practice that lets l ISPs move their own broadband gear into Telecom exchanges - allows Orcon to sidestep Telecom Wholesale and offer broadband plus voice deals, and cheaper ADSL2+ (the fastest form of broadband over copper as we wait, and wait, for VDSL2).

From today, households and businesses in Christchurch and Dunedin can sign up for Orcon’s local loop unbundled (LLU) telephone and ADSL2+ broadband network service – Orcon+, the company said in a statement.

The move marks Orcon's first unbundling foray into the South Island.

Exchanges in Palmerston North and Rotorua are set to go live later this month.

Orcon and Vodafone were quick to take advantage of regulatory changes and unbundle around 40 Telecom exchanges in Auckland 2008, but have been very slow in expanding beyond our largest city. It's only this year that the pace has picked up again. Orcon says it will have unbundled eight centres by the end of this month.

The pair have complained that Telecom's roadside cabinet roll-out programme - which by the end of this year will cover around half of urban homes, with the balance fed from exchanges - cuts them out of half of the market, making it less economic to unbundle exchanges.

The Commerce Commission regulates the price at which Orcon, Vodafone and others can access Telecom cabinets, all of which have VDSL2 (available to all-comers via Telecom Wholesale) and space for competitors to place their own gear.

Orcon and Vodafone maintain space is too limited, and access charges too high.

Another issue: the coming ultrafast broadband (UFB) Crown Fibre roll-out, which will make all copper redundant some time between now and 2020.

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