New Zealand wholesale fixed line provider Chorus has announced it will begin switching off its first copper cabinets in mid-March as it continues its fibre network upgrade. The company has urged customers to move off its copper lines where feasible while it follows the processes set out in regulator the Commerce Commission’s Copper Withdrawal Code.
The switch-off comes as the company’s Ultrafast Fibre Broadband (UFB) rollout continues to track ahead of schedule. With 87% of New Zealanders expected to have to access to fibre by the end of the year, Chorus is encouraging customers to migrate off copper in areas where the uptake of fibre is already high. The company’s copper switch-off will only occur in areas where fibre is available and voice-only services continue to be available for those who want them. Having trialled the Withdrawal Code in 2021 with less than 1% of the 500,000 customers using the technology, Chorus now plans to send copper withdrawal notices to a further 13,500 customers – about 3% of its copper base.
Commenting on the technology upgrade, Chorus CEO JB Rousselot said: ‘We are proud to provide a world-class fibre network for New Zealanders and want to encourage those who remain on copper to contact their provider and make the change. In areas where fibre is readily available, we believe it offers the best connectivity option, with the least carbon emissions. However, we’re 100% committed to maintaining the copper network in locations where fibre is not currently available. It is important to note that this is not a mass switch-off of copper, but a continual transition to improved technology as and where it becomes available. Our priority is to keep New Zealanders connected with a fixed line, without interruption, no matter what the technology option they choose.’