24 Oct 2013

TUANZ says Chorus pricing moving in right direction

7:53 am on 24 October 2013

The Telecommunications Users Association, or TUANZ, says new pricing plans from telecommunications lines company Chorus are a step in the right direction.

Chorus plans to slash its monthly prices or offer more services for the same price for its ultra-fast broadband plans.

The plan comes as its UFB connections reached 9200 at the end of September.

Chorus says its UFB connections are rising at about 1000 a month, but that is not enough if it is to reach its goals.

In July this year, Chorus spokesperson Ian Bonnar said the company plans to have more than 500,000 customers connected to the UFB network by 2016.

From 1 January next year, Chorus will cut its wholesale price for its 100 megabytes per second download, 50 megabyte upload service by $10 to $45 a month.

It will also offer significantly faster speeds for its current $37.50 a month and $175 a month plans.

TUANZ chief executive Paul Brislen says Chorus is at last acknowledging the problem with the low take up of UFB services is not the pricing of copper wire services.

He says the issue is the price of the fibre product and what you get for that, and this is an acknowledgement that they have to offer more if they want to attract customers.

Mr Brislen says Chorus somehow needs to persuade the telecommunications retailers to promote UFB services.

He says uptake will remain in the single digits until the retail operators come on board and start promoting the plan, differentiating and coming up with new reasons to move.

Mr Brislen says the Government spent $14 million on an advertising campaign telling people to go out and buy a new television for the digital television switch over, but there has been no Government advertising campaign for UFB.

He says Chorus cannot sell directly to customers but has to sell to retail internet service providers, who are not necessarily onboard, so there is a lack of push from the retail market to sell the product and a lack of demand from retail customers who do not realise the product is any different from what they already have.