Spark (formerly Telecom New Zealand) has announced a number of tariff hikes which it says have come as a result of this week’s decision by the Commerce Commission to increase the charges for wholesale access to copper phone networks belonging to infrastructure owner Chorus. From 1 February 2016 the price of Spark’s ADSL and VDSL broadband plans will rise by NZD5 (USD3.40) a month, while home landline customers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will see their charges go up by NZD3.50 a month. There will be no change to fibre prices, as these were not affected by the Commission’s ruling.
Spark says the regulator’s move to increase charges for unbundled local loop (ULL) and unbundled bitstream access (UBA) with effect from 15 December have added almost NZD8 a month to its wholesale fees for broadband services and NZD7 a month for landline services. It called the decision ‘the worst possible Christmas present for New Zealand consumers and businesses’. The telco said the one ‘sliver of good news’ was that the wholesale charge increases were not backdated, meaning it will be able to offer refunds to some customers who had their prices upped earlier this year in anticipation of the backdating.