User groups vent: copper broadband pricing decision 'a travesty'

New Zealand's Telecommunications Users' Association and InternetNZ weigh in on final pricing decision for monopoly copper network services.

InternetNZ and the Telecommunications Users' Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) are venting their disappointment at the final price determination for wholesale access to copper broadband released today.

InternetNZ went so far as to describe the determination as "a travesty".

"These prices have a direct impact on what New Zealanders pay to get online, and as it has in its earlier draft, the Commission has set them too high," InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter said.

"Today's announcement means higher prices for everyone, and a direct flow of money from broadband users to Chorus."

InternetNZ wheeled out research from the International Telecommunications Union showing New Zealand at 60th in the world for fixed line broadband pricing.

"Our impression is that throughout the price setting process, the Commission has failed to put consumer interests first," Carter said.

"The Commission has to ensure that they have delivered to 'the long term benefit of end users'. We are not sure that that test has been met today."

TUANZ also warned the Commerce Commission's decision would likely lead to higher prices.

"These prices will have a direct impact on users, and especially those users who are unable to take up Ultrafast Broadband service," said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.

"These include the 20 percent of the population who live rurally, and who have no other fixed line options and will continue to rely on copper phone lines for the foreseeable future."

TUANZ said it recognised that the Commerce Commission is an independent arbiter who must apply the law, but was disappointed that the end users look to have lost out.

Both organisations said they were pleased the Commission decided not apply backdating to the pricing, but were concerned that this may not be the end of the nearly three-year saga if a telco decided to challenge the process once again in court.

From 16 December 2015, the final prices are: an unbundled copper local loop (UCLL) price of NZ$29.75 in year one, reaching NZ$31.68 in year five (compared to NZ$23.52 currently), and; a final unbundled bitstream access(UBA) price of NZ$11.44 in year one, reaching NZ$10.67 in year five (compared to NZ$10.92 currently).