Chorus launches gigabit broadband, InternetNZ calls for futureproof regulation

Chorus says the move will see the network offer “real world” download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps

Chorus is to extend its 1Gbps residential and SME business fibre broadband service across its entire Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) footprint from 1 October 2016. The move has prompted InternetNZ to call for higher bandwidth services to be enshrined in regulation.

Chorus says the move will see the network offer “real world” download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps. Currently, the average download speed across Chorus' networks is 30.5Mbps.

The move follows announcement last month by other fibre providers Enable, Northpower Fibre and Ultrafast Fibre of 1Gbps upgrades in the Dunedin area

InternetNZ chief executive, Jordan Carter, said the move sent a clear signal to the Government that its current review of the regulatory framework for 2020 needed to enable faster speeds both for the fibre network and for other Internet options throughout New Zealand.

"Our main concern is that the review should establish targets for broadband access that are ahead of the curve and match the potential of our networks," Carter said. "We need a framework that delivers clear direction for the future of telecommunications. We think the focus should be Kiwis getting the best available service at a fair price."

As part of its proposed framework, the Government's Options Paper specifies "anchor products” with capped maximum prices. InternetNZ says the bandwidths specified are far loo low. “They are already being surpassed in 2016, and by the time 2020 rolls around will be even further behind,” Carter said. “A future-proof framework will need much faster anchor products, and will require them to improve over time without prompting from the Commerce Commission.”

He added: “Today's announcement of gigabit fibre is a clear signal:our future framework needs to aim at encouraging ongoing investment and innovation to deliver ever faster speeds. It has to be ahead of the curve, not behind it.”

Chorus’ residential wholesale gigabit broadband service will be available to broadband retailers at an introductory price of $60 per month until 30 June 2017 after which it increases to $65 per month. The business service will be priced at $75 per month from launch. Existing fibre customers looking to upgrade to a gigabit plan will not require a Chorus technician to visit their home.

Chorus says it is working closely with Crown Fibre Holdings for approval of the gigabit service pricing but if approval is not obtained by the end of September the services will launch on a trial basis.

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