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Chorus postpones inflation increase for New Zealand broadband

Wholesaler reduces maintenance across network due to COVID-19 and has a majority of staff working from home.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor on
Image: Chorus

New Zealand broadband wholesaler Chorus announced on Monday it would be foregoing its annual regulated price adjustment to cater for inflation as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the planet.

The company said it would still go ahead with its intended decrease on gigabit plan pricing, from NZ$60 to NZ$56, on July 1 to help those working from home.

For its own part, Chorus said the majority of its staff are now working from home, with a "small number" of employees on site to ensure its infrastructure continues to work.

Chorus said it would be reducing the amount of maintenance it conducts on its wholesale network in response to coronavirus.

"Given our status as a lifeline, we will prioritise repairing faults as quickly as possible, and connecting locations where no other form of fixed line connectivity is available," Chorus CEO JB Rousselot said.

"We will continue to perform connections and upgrades in locations that already have a fixed line connection, but only if field resources are available.

"We have put a number of controls in place to identify situations where customers may be self-isolating, and any technicians who display any signs of illness are stood down and put into self-isolation immediately, along with their close contacts."

The company said it had capacity to handle the increased load from Kiwis working from home, as the current daytime rate of data consumption is lower than the usual 9 pm peak.

"Significant capacity headroom is also available above the record peak throughput ever recorded on the network. In addition, the company is continuing to work collaboratively with our RSP partners to support them to add capacity as required," the company said.

Last week, Australian government-owned wholesaler NBN said it would be limiting its maintenance during an expected coronavirus network surge.

The following day, NBN announced its would be providing Australian retailers with an increase in the amount of capacity they purchase from NBN by 40%, at no additional charge for a period of at least three months.

"Today's announcement follows weeks of detailed planning and assessment by NBN's engineers on the network's capabilities to effectively meet Australia's growing broadband requirements as more people choose to spend more time at home working, studying, shopping, and streaming entertainment content," the company said.

CVC charges from February will be used as a baseline and will be monitored by the company, NBN said.

NBN CEO Stephen Rue said the 40% increase was based on the bandwidth seen in coronavirus-impacted nations such as Italy.

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