Labour MP Clare Curran is calling for the Commerce
Commission to reject a suggestion by Chorus it offer its own
pricing analysis to speed up the decision on copper wire
Chorus, the telecommunications network operator spun out of
Telecom in 2011, yesterday put an alternative proposal to the
Commerce Commission on how its physical copper lines should
be regulated in a bid to fast-track the process.
The Wellington-based company says the regulator should use
the existing network configuration as a hypothetical
equivalent operator to determine the value of assets and
level of operating cost at their current replacement cost,
rather than using fibre-only and fibre/wireless as
Ms Curran, Labour's associate ICT spokeswoman, said it was an
issue of trust and New Zealanders were already wary of
''The company does not have a great track record for
efficiency or competence when it comes to rolling out the
ultrafast broadband network.''
Chorus made the proposal as a submission on the commission's
work to set a final price for what the network operator could
charge for services on its copper lines, to find the true
cost of the service rather than relying on international
experience as a benchmark.
The review was broken into two parts.
The regulator sought views on how to set the methodology in
valuing the unbundled copper local loop (UCLL) service, which
lets retailers rent the lines for voice and broadband
The second part related to the unbundled bitstream access
(UBA) service, which gave internet service providers access
to the network company's electronic switchgear on the copper
Chorus also supported aligning the timetable for the UCLL and
UBA processes to ensure the final pricing principle can be
set by December this year, when the company is expected to
adhere to the new regulated prices.
Last year, the Commerce Commission proposed cutting the
network operator's pricing on its copper line services, which
Chorus says has left a $1 billion hole in the funding to
finance rollout of the Government-sponsored ultrafast
Ms Curran said any recommendations Chorus made which involved
''trust us to come up with the right answers'' should be
regarded with scepticism.
''The bottom line for the commission is clear. Affordable
prices for consumers, a competitive industry and an
efficiency network in copper and fibre. If Chorus can't
deliver those things, then they're in the wrong game,'' she
Chorus is negotiating with Crown Fibre Holdings over the
building of the network, but Communications Minister Amy
Adams has indicated the Government expects the company to
fill most of the $1 billion hole.