New Zealand’s competition regulator, the Commerce Commission, has finalised its Copper Withdrawal Code that sets out the requirements Chorus, the provider of New Zealand’s copper telecoms network, must meet before it can stop providing wholesale copper phone and broadband services. By 2022 most New Zealanders are expected to have access to fibre at home, which means large parts of the traditional copper phone and broadband network will no longer be needed. The Commission has designed the Copper Withdrawal Code to protect consumers during the transition from copper to faster and more reliable technologies such as fibre.
Under the terms of the Code, Chorus can only stop supplying copper services where households can access the same services over the fibre network. In areas where fibre is not currently available Chorus must continue to supply copper services. There are protections in the Code to ensure consumers are not left without access to the telecommunications services they need, and they will also receive at least six months’ notice of any change. Chorus must provide consumers with the information they need to understand the transition and, if they order a fibre service, have it installed at their home before copper services can be stopped. Chorus can begin notifying consumers of its intention to stop supplying copper services in areas where fibre is available once the Code takes effect on 1 March 2021. The earliest Chorus could then stop supplying copper services is September 2021.