Crown Fibre Holdings have just announced three parties who are entering prioritised negotiations for the fibre roll-out. This will come as a surpise to those who assumed that Telecom/Chorus will win a nationwide contract. The three parties are:
- Alpine Energy (Timaru);
- The Central North Island Fibre Consortium (Hamilton – including Cambridge and Te Awamutu – Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Hawera and Tokoroa); and
- Northpower (Whangarei).
This is a welcome step forward, and residents in those communities should be pleased.
“All shortlisted parties remain important contenders for future negotiations of binding agreements. CFH is open to either a Telecom, New Zealand Regional Fibre Group solution, or some form of combination for the balance of the UFB project.”
So Telecom (and the NZ Regional Fibre Group) can still win the rest of NZ. If they did, presumably they would co-operate with the winners in the above areas. There is of course a risk Telecom/Chorus will try to undercut, if they don’t win a significant portion of the business. That will lead to infrastructure competition which is good in the short term, but inefficient in the long term. Services, rather than infrastructure, is where you want the competition to be.