Mark Callander, CEO of New Zealand’s largest unbundled local-loop (LLU) network operator CallPlus and Slingshot, supports the Commerce Commission’s move to reduce the cost of copper.
Callander says he is encouraged by the Commerce Commission’s announcement today that the local-loop price charged by Chorus to telcos is likely to fall.
“While it is still a draft decision, today’s announcement is likely to drive further investment, particularly in non-urban areas which suffer from a lack of competition and choice. By extending the reach of our LLU network, Slingshot’s customers will enjoy the benefits of faster broadband speeds and voice services at much lower prices than they do today.
“This is an excellent opportunity to reduce the digital divide within New Zealand and deliver cost effective telecommunication services to as many kiwis as possible,” says Callander.
“Chorus’ comments in the media that they are concerned that this may impact on fibre uptake are concerning. Chorus is worried that if the high copper prices they charge to Telcos currently are reduced, as they should be, then consumers will pay less for their broadband services making new, more expensive fibre services less attractive. The net effect is they advocate that consumers pay more for copper services.
“One aspect of the decision we would like to see improved would be the removal of the glide path which may inhibit further investment and delay consumers benefiting from lower priced, better performing LLU based voice and broadband by delaying the reduction. Since late last year everyone in the industry has been aware that a reduction was likely and was long overdue. Spreading the reduction over two and a half years may cause additional barriers for investment for some competitors,” concludes Callander.