The copper network has given great support to New Zealanders over many years – providing the copper lines connecting landline phone calls and more recently, connecting to the internet. But with more than four-fifths of all Kiwis now having access to fibre via the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) rollout, our country is now much less dependent on copper for our communication needs.
The Government has recognised these changes by passing new laws that allow the owner of the copper network, Chorus, to withdraw its copper-based telecommunications services in areas where fibre is available. Where fibre is not available, Chorus must continue to offer its copper services.
During 2021, Chorus will start the process of withdrawing the copper network in certain areas. This is going to be a gradual process: these early steps are expected to affect a very small minority of New Zealanders, fewer than one percent of homes and businesses that use copper today.
As noted earlier, copper withdrawal can only occur in streets where fibre is already available. If you’re affected, you’ll need to move to fibre (installation is free in most circumstances) or to another technology (such as wireless) to stay connected to broadband and phone services. Monitored medical and home alarms that use your copper connection will also be affected.
Chorus has a website providing more information, including how to register for updates about what’s happening to copper in your area.
Copper Withdrawal Code
The Copper Withdrawal Code was published by the Commerce Commission on 10 Dec 2020. The Code sets out the consumer protections that Chorus must meet before it can stop the supply of a copper service to an end user’s property.
In addition, telecommunications retailers will need to be able to meet their obligations under the 111 Contact Code before Chorus is able to stop the supply of copper service to registered vulnerable consumers.