Chorus is singing a happy tune as it will be able to offer some customers a free optical-fibre internet connections. Photo supplied.
Ultrafast broadband just got 200m closer to most of the homes
that will have fibre passing their doors within the next
three years after Chorus agreed to provide $20 million for
free residential installations.
Chorus marketing and sales general manager Victoria Crone
said that with more than 72,000 customers now within reach of
the Chorus UFB network, the company had agreed to provide $20
million for retail service providers to offer free
installation to residential customers.
Chorus already funded the first 15m of new trenching to
connect a home, or up to 10m of fibre where there was an
available duct or a single overhead aerial span.
The additional funding would be used to cover the cost of
connecting residences that were beyond those, up to 200m.
"New Zealanders are still discovering the benefits of fibre
and we want to help make it as easy as possible for our
customers and their customers to make the switch to a fibre
world," she said.
Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said he still
expected Chorus to be a cash generator in the longer-term.
"But, in the near-term, there is a high degree of uncertainty
and execution risk associated with the capital-intensive UFB
initiative and the pricing of both existing copper products
and the fibre products being built now."
Chorus' UFB capital expenditure was substantially greater
than forecast and it might not be able to recoup that
expense, he said.
"We remain cautious and will be watching the share price and
regulatory developments closely," Mr Timms said.
The Communications and Information Technology Minister, Amy
Adams, said the Government and Crown Fibre Holdings had
reached agreement with Chorus, Enable and Northpower that
provided for free residential connections for up to 200m per
house from the road, until at least 2015.
Estimates suggested that only 0.3% of UFB residential
premises might need a connection longer than 200m.
The 2015 timeframe was based on a 38% uptake rate by
Mrs Adams said the uptake rate was high for the first few
years of a new fibre network.