1 Nov 2012

Chorus to focus on fibre network, customers

9:51 am on 1 November 2012

Chorus says its focus is on rolling out its fibre network and getting more customers signed up to it over the next financial year.

The telecommunications network firm expects to spend $560 - $610 million this year on its capital plans.

Chorus was separated from Telecom's retail arm at the end of last year, becoming a standalone listed company in order to participate in the Government's ultra fast broadband initiative.

Chorus chief executive Mark Ratcliffe says in some ways the company is a start-up organisation, because it did not exist before, but the expectations are different because Chorus is about the 12th largest company in New Zealand.

Mr Ratcliffe says the company started two major roll out projects at the same time as becoming a standalone company.

Seven-hundred end users have so far signed up to the fibre network and Chorus says by the time the network is completed in 2019, 1 million customers will be within reach of a fibre connection.

More than 30 retail service providers have signed up to be able to offer fibre services to end users, and trials for the providers are ongoing.

Mr Ratcliffe expects customer numbers connected to the fibre network by the end of the 2013 financial year to be in the thousands.

He says the issue will depend on the major players in the market.

Mr Ratcliffe says companies that have predominant market share in the copper world in New Zealand, such as Telecom and TelstraClear, have not yet launched their broadband products.

He says uptake will be very dependent on how quickly customers adopt their products when they come to market, which will hopefully be early next year.

Mr Ratcliffe says the company will consider a dividend reinvestment plan next year if it needs to raise more money.