The operational separation of Telecom New Zealand comes into effect today (31 March), with the telco implementing a government-backed plan which has seen it split into three divisions covering retail, wholesale and network operations. Telecom submitted a revised separation proposal just last week and the government approved the plan in time for the reorganisation to go ahead on the scheduled date. The split is intended to give New Zealand’s phone users access to cheaper and better quality services, with alternative providers able to compete more effectively with the incumbent. Telecom New Zealand chief executive Paul Reynolds says today marks a milestone for the company and for the domestic industry as a whole. He added that he considers the requirements of the separation undertaking to be ‘challenging but achievable’. The firm has already begun work on infrastructure projects required as part of the split, including the installation of 3,600 roadside cabinets to improve access to its broadband internet networks.