“The telecommunications industry is committed to ensuring the protection of all consumers and welcomes the certainty this new code will bring”, says Geoff Thorn, CEO, NZ Telecommunications Forum (TCF).
The latest figures from Crown Infrastructure Partners show that 62% of New Zealand homes covered by the ultrafast broadband (UFB) rollout are now connected to a modern fibre link, with the percentage in some cities and towns as high as 88%. The UFB network is a key part of the world class telecommunications services that New Zealanders now have access to.
Considering the trend of transitioning to the newer fibre technology, the Copper Withdrawal Code recognises there will come a time when it no longer makes economic sense to continue maintaining a separate copper network in all areas of New Zealand.
“Consumers can rest assured that everyone will remain connected, as the Code makes it clear that copper can be withdrawn only in areas that fibre is available and can be installed. If there is no option for fibre (for example in rural areas) then services currently provided over the copper network will remain,” Thorn commented.
“The Code allows for a process that Chorus must follow when it decides to stop supply of its copper network within certain areas where fibre services are available.”
For those in areas that fibre is available (but are currently still using copper services), Chorus must provide these consumers with at least six months’ notice before the copper services can be stopped and provide adequate communication and information on the fibre services available.
If a consumer has a concern about the process of withdrawing the copper services, they can raise this through the industry dispute scheme - Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR). TDR is a free and independent service which helps resolve disputes between customers and their telecommunications company.
Now that the Copper Withdrawal Code is published, the TCF and industry with work together to ensure successful implementation of this code, and to make sure that consumers have all the protection they require.