14 May 2014
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Boost for NZ broadband as Chorus invests mega-bucks in Alcatel-Lucent

Chorus has today announced a new set of broadband products designed to deliver greater speeds, enhanced HD video capability, more choices for the telecommunications industry and a clear path to fibre.

The Chorus Accelerate product range offers commercial copper and fibre products, which will be available alongside the standard regulated products, allowing the industry to choose the products that best meet their needs.

“The Chorus Accelerate range is a direct response to feedback from our customers,” says Mark Ratcliffe, CEO, Chorus.

“We know that our customers have been asking us for greater speeds, products that give them the confidence to market value-added HD video services, more choices and better value. Chorus Accelerate gives them all of this and more.”

“Chorus Accelerate is an integrated portfolio of products. Each product provides a logical step towards the fibre future, as well as ensuring that New Zealanders enjoy the best possible broadband today.

"Chorus Accelerate also makes it much easier and better value for more end users to make the switch to Chorus UFB fibre as soon as it is available in their area.”

Investment in infrastructure...

Chorus Accelerate will be powered by a multi-million dollar investment in core Chorus infrastructure with the company announcing an investment in the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS) to handle the high growth in bandwidth demand in network and the additional capacity required to support the Chorus Accelerate range.

The XRS network switch can handle up to 16 terabits of data per second, which enables Chorus to provide service commitments for both new copper and fibre services.

Chorus says it is the first communications infrastructure provider in the Asia Pacific region to invest in this world leading solution with this additional capability builds on the $500m investment made in fibre to the node.

New fibre products...

Chorus will also launch three new product groups for fibre, starting with Fibre 100 which will be priced at the initial wholesale price of $40 per 100/20 connection, making it the de facto entry level fibre plan.

Second up is Fibre 200 – a range of 200Mbps fibre products for end users who demand fast broadband speeds, along with Fibre Business, which includes a 1Gbps product available across Chorus’ fibre footprint.

“Fibre is the long term solution for broadband in New Zealand, and our new products clearly set it apart from the copper-based products in terms of speed and value," Ratcliffe adds.

"Starting with a wholesale price of $40 for Fibre 100 is a conscious decision to make it the most attractive option for both the industry and end users as soon as fibre is available in our UFB areas.”

Chorus Accelerate Fibre products will also be slightly over-specified for their speeds, adds Ratcliffe.

Boosted copper...

Ratcliffe claims Chorus' new copper products "support a clear migration path to fibre by expanding HD video capability."

“We know that the more bandwidth and better services people enjoy the more they want, and we are confident that better copper will also mean more end user demand for fibre,” he adds.

“We also know that our customers are very focused on developing video services and these products will give them the confidence to market their new video services with the assurance that the Chorus network will deliver the experience that end users will love.”

The two new copper products are Boost HD and Boost VDSL with both products requiring capable lines.

Around 90% of the Chorus broadband capable lines will be Boost HD capable, and around 60% will be Boost VDSL capable.

Boost HD will be priced at the discounted wholesale rate of $44.98 until 1 December, the same as a standard broadband connection today while Boost VDSL will be priced at the wholesale rate of $49.98.

Ratcliffe says Chorus will review both prices upon completion of the Commerce Commission’s Final Pricing Principle reviews for UBA and UCLL scheduled to be done by 1 December 2014 and expects that both Boost products will be priced at an appropriate premium to regulated Unbundled Bitstream Access (UBA) products.

Customer choice and speed to market...

Ratcliffe also claims Chorus' committed to delivering its regulated broadband products remains strong, insisting it will "not throttle the regulated broadband service" to an unusable level in order to artificially create demand for commercial products.

“Customers will be free to choose the products that best meet their needs, whether they are from the regulated or the commercial product set,” he adds.

“We are excited to offer a new range of commercial products that we believe respond to our customers’ needs in a dynamic and commercial way.

"Providing commercial products in addition to the regulated products also means we can move much more quickly to meet our customers’ needs as the industry evolves.”

Chorus will immediately commence a 60 day consultation period with the industry to finalise the technical details of the product descriptions.

The company is set to launch the new fibre products on 1 July 2014 and the new copper products on 1 September 2014, subject to market demand.

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