Resolution on Chorus UFB charges facing delay

Decision on who pays for 'non-standard' connection fees likely to be months away

Discussions on who will pay for ‘non standard’ Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) installations are likely to be delayed past September.

According to its contract with Crown Fibre Holdings, Chorus – which won around 70 percent of the UFB build - has to pay for an installation that is up to 15 metres between the kerb and a house. This differs from the contracts with Local Fibre Companieswhich have contracts in Whangarei (Northpower), central North Island (Ultra Fast Fibre) and Christchurch (Enable), where the minimum standard installation is 30 metres.

Following industry concerns – expressed publicly in a Computerworld article in April – a Chorus “free trial” open to all Retail Service Providers (RSPs) wanting to resell UFB services was extended to December 14.

Chorus is also re-examining the installation terms for connection of domestic premises to ultrafast broadband in association with Crown Fibre Holdings and the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum, says Chorus spokesperson Melanie Marshall.

Chorus was hoping discussions could be concluded by September, but Marshall says a resolution may now be further away.

The terms of Chorus’s contracts with CFH and retail service providers (RSPs) stipulate that Chorus must pay the “standard installation costs”. This is defined as:

• 15 metres of buried cable from the property boundary; or

• One span of overhead fibre cable from an existing pole; or

• 100 metres of fibre cable in an existing pipe or new pipe in a provided trench; or

• 5 metres of internal fibre cable from the point where the lead-in enters the premises (external termination point).

It is not clear who pays the cost for an installation that does not meet those terms. This could mean the customer will eventually pay more of the cost of installation than under the present arrangement, Marshall concedes, but it is too early to prejudge the result of the process, she says.

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