Chorus, the wholesale business arm of Telecom New Zealand, has reported total operating revenue of NZD535 million (USD292.7 million) for the six months ended 31 December 2013, an increase from NZD525 million in the year-ago period, despite total fixed line connections declining from 1.784 million to 1.776 million. EBITDA fell 0.6% from NZD331 million to NZD329 million and net earnings totalled NZD78 million for the six month period, down 7.1% from NZD84 million a year earlier. Gross capital expenditure was NZD332 million, around 87% of which was fibre related, principally for the rollout of fibre for the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) projects.
At 31 December 2013 there were approximately 1.497 million ‘baseband’ copper lines, down from 1.559 million a year earlier, while ‘data service over copper’ connections fell to 19,000 lines as ‘the classification of legacy connections was reviewed and retail service providers scrutinised input costs’. The reduction in these categories was offset by an increase in other fixed line connection products; ‘naked’ connections grew 43% year-on-year to 103,000 lines and fibre connections rose from 15,000 to 27,000 lines. Meanwhile, total broadband connections increased from 1.076 million to 1.132 million at end-2013, driven by the continued uptake of ‘naked’ services, and an increase in fibre and VDSL connections, which totalled 16,000 and 25,000, respectively.