Vodafone New Zealand and Vocus Communications New Zealand have unveiled a joint venture (JV) to unbundle the country’s government-backed Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network from January 2020. The two parties say that unbundling will accelerate broadband innovation and wholesale price competition by allowing them to fully customise their products to meet the needs of different consumers. The JV will involve scoping, designing and investing in unbundling the fibre local loops of the four local fibre companies (LFCs – see below), with a view to providing wholesale fibre products to the retail market in competition with LFCs. As such, Vodafone and Vocus have now issued a request for proposal (RFP) to the LFCs for ‘Layer One’ wholesale services and pricing. A recent select committee recommendation endorsed the introduction of fibre unbundling by 2020, allowing the telcos to proceed with their plan.
Vocus New Zealand Chief Executive Mark Callander commented: ‘We have already seen the huge benefits of copper unbundling in New Zealand and it’s time now to turn our focus to fibre as markets overseas are already doing. Our brands Slingshot and Orcon invested heavily in copper unbundling, as did Vodafone, and it dramatically changed the broadband market in New Zealand. It bought real competition, innovation and price savings to Kiwi consumers. Unbundling fibre is exciting, and will bring about tangible change. Partnering with Vodafone is a natural fit for Vocus, bringing to the table their global fibre experience and capabilities to complement our leadership in unbundling fixed networks here and in Australia.’
TeleGeography notes that the open access UFB deployments are being carried out by four wholesalers, namely: Chorus, Ultrafast Fibre, Enable Networks and Northpower Fibre. End-user services are then re-sold by third-party providers. The UFB seeks to cover 80% of the population by 2022.