NZ behind Spark’s fight against copper charges as public joins the fight

"The process for setting these charges is hugely complex, but that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t have a voice."

Public support for reducing copper wholesale charges is growing with more than 1,000 people sending in submissions to the Commerce Commission in just five days as part of the Be Counted campaign.

Spark New Zealand launched the www.becounted.org.nz website to let the public know what’s going on and give them a say in the regulatory process to set charges for broadband and landlines, because of its importance to the whole country.

“The process for setting these charges is hugely complex, but that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t have a voice,” says Conor Roberts, Head of Public Affairs, Spark New Zealand.

“New Zealanders are calling on the Commerce Commission to justify why its proposed copper wholesale Chorus charges are up to 80 percent higher than the median charge in comparable countries, that’s up to $180 more per year for every broadband and voice customer.”

Approximately 95 percent of New Zealand broadband and landline connections are still on the copper network and Chorus charges make up around 50 percent of what customers pay.

According to Roberts, this means increased charges will be felt right around the country, by customers from all service providers.

The Commission is due to release an interim decision in June with the final determination out in December with the telco’s website allowing the public to find out more about how broadband charges and easily send in a submission.

“Internet consumers in New Zealand have seen a lot more value in their plans during the past few years,” he adds.

“That’s why the Commission needs to explain how it is in the long-term interests of the general public to increase these charges.

“It’s great to see so many ordinary internet consumers having their say. It’s not every day the Commission gets more than 1,000 members of the public putting in submissions about its decisions.

“The Commission needs to rethink its position and listen to the voice of the public.”

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Tags copperSpark New ZealandCommerce CommissionChorusgovernmentbroadband

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