Regulator suspends probe after Chorus puts new services on ice

Plans for new unregulated copper-based broadband services, dubbed Boost HD, are now in limbo.

New Zealand telecommunications regulator the Commerce Commission has suspended its investigation into new unregulated copper services proposed by network operator Chorus.

The services, branded Boost HD, were to have guaranteed performance levels, and that required the introduction of traffic management on the regulated services, which Chorus said are performing well above the level required by the regulator.

It was that aspect of the proposal that drew a complaint to the commission from retailer Spark in May.

Chorus, however, has now put its Boost HD plans on ice, prompting Spark to put its complaint on hold. The commission, in turn, has also backed off — at least for now.

In a statement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Chorus said it remains committed to developing commercial products that sit alongside regulated services.

The company reiterated that it is currently "over-delivering" on its regulatory requirements and looks forward to greater clarity on its regulatory obligations as part of a separate review now under way.

"Chorus welcomes the notification from the Commerce Commission that it is stopping its investigation," said Vanessa Oakley, Chorus general counsel.

"We have always sought to work constructively with the industry, and this has included extensive consultation with customers and the commission on a number of proposals in advance of making any changes."

Interest group InternetNZ welcomed the suspension of the investigation.

Chief executive Jordan Carter said Chorus' proposal to arbitrarily decide it could provide an unregulated service that would effectively offer New Zealanders "what they already get but for a higher price" was not on solid ground.

"We think it's the decent thing to put this project on hold," Carter said.

InternetNZ said it is looking forward to the commission coming up with a "fair and independent price for copper broadband services so New Zealand can get the certainty around pricing that everyone in the industry wants".

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