A Chorus of one

November 28th, 2013 at 3:38 pm by Jadis

New Zealand First, United Future and the Maori Party have all stated their position that the should listen to the Commerce Commission on the and issue. It appears to have been a highly coordinated campaign where each Party stated their position in quick succession.

What does this mean for the Government? Well, the silver lining is that they can ditch a proposal that was fairly unpopular and work on alternative arrangements for assisting Chorus that doesn’t involve users paying more and undermining the Commerce Commission.


Update: ACT and Mana Party have also added their support. I understand Greens and Labour Party will follow in the next hour.

22 Responses to “A Chorus of one”

  1. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    NZ First IT spokesperson Tracey Martin said in a statement that the party supported the commission’s final recommendation on pricing, and opposed ”any deal that puts the interests of a publicly listed company ahead of New Zealand families and businesses”.

    “We will vote against any legislation that seeks to overrule the Commerce Commission’s final pricing recommendation or that tries to delay its implementation from 1 December 2014,” she said.

    United Future leader Peter Dunne has urged the Government to respect the Commerce Commission’s recommendation to lower copper broadband prices.

    In a statement issued shortly after a similar one from New Zealand First, Dunne said the party would oppose legislation which overruled the determination.

    “The Commerce Commission is an independent regulator that has been given the important task of setting prices fairly in a monopoly market,” Dunne said.

    “It is outrageous that the Government should even consider overriding this apolitical process.”

    The Maori Party will oppose any legislation to reduce or delay the cuts to internet prices ordered by the Commerce Commission to come into force on December 1, 2014.

    “The Maori Party is keenly aware of the digital divide within New Zealand, as reported by the World Internet Project last week. We do not support further entrenching that divide by increasing the cost of copper broadband and voice services above the price set by the Commerce Commission,” Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said in a statement.


    Mana also says no:

    “National’s proposed copper tax is about getting poor whānau in Te Tai Tokerau to pay for a fibre broadband network for its rich mates in Remuera,” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.

    “A quarter of Kiwis will never have access to the new UFB fibre network – and that includes poor, rural Maori who AUT University says are already disadvantaged when it comes to internet access.”

    “We’re not voting for any Bill that tries to make people who will never have UFB pay for it to be put into homes in Remuera.”


    And @BrendanHoran

    Why are we having a conversation about copper broadband? Fibre-based UFB is the future and must be rolled out asap to as many as poss.

    That said, no company should be given an incentive to be overcharging for last century’s copper broadband technology.

    John Banks isn’t enough to help National on this.

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  2. nickb (3,765 comments) says:

    Pete, you seemed to have usurped Philu’s role as “news aggregator”. Do you really need to post 10 links to MSM stories on every KB blog post?

    Most of us come here to read because the MSM is shite.

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  3. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    “Most of us”? There’s a lot more people reading (and posting news and links) here than a handful of nit pickers and down tickers.

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  4. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    Chris Bramwell ‏@rnzgallerychris

    John Banks confirms he won’t support Govt overriding the Com Com decision on copper pricing

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  5. OneTrack (4,602 comments) says:

    Remind me again how many billions of taxpayer dollars have we wasted, and now everybody admits what they really wanted all along was cheap copper.

    Governments interfering in free markets – when will we ever learn?

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  6. infused (714 comments) says:

    We don’t want cheap copper. We wan’t fibre. We just don’t want to prop up Chorus.

    Businesses cannot operate on copper. It’s not about the speed. If anything, it’s latency.

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  7. burt (11,475 comments) says:

    This is going to be hard for the government to work through. The National party and their recent migration to state run monopolies being good rather than bad will be lost for ideas on how to progress without a single monopoly provider acting as a pseudo tax collector on publicly owned infrastructure.

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  8. burt (11,475 comments) says:

    Governments interfering in free markets – when will we ever learn?

    Only when in opposition ….. They forget again once they see the revenue collection (command / control ) opportunities.

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  9. Peter (2,095 comments) says:

    Pete, we’ve got Twitter, Google News, et al, just like you. Repeating the aggregation provided by those tools is both redundant and annoying, unless you’re adding to it by bringing compleling insight to the process.

    You’re not…..

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  10. Jaffa (165 comments) says:

    The Commerce Commission has skewed the pitch!
    The best solution is to cancel the contract, and call new tenders.
    Or, only put fibre in the main cities, where it might actually be used.

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  11. big bruv (15,570 comments) says:

    Hopefully Neville Key is so pissed at Dunne that he has decided to stand himself as the candidate for Ohariu.

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  12. Jack5 (9,299 comments) says:

    Fibre to the home is way ahead of demand. The lobbyists and interest groups that lobbied for it so vigorously for so long are to blame. The odd home business needing faster uploads, or uploading heaps of video will benefit initially, but otherwise it seems to be the domain of video-addicted couch potatoes.

    As has been pointed out frequently before, the rise of smart phones and tablets has changed consumer internet demand. These users can access the net through cellphone networks, but more frequently use WiFi wireless links to home modems. For them, the speed and capacity of WiFi is the slow and weak link that largely negates the benefit of fibre to the home.

    Things may change in years ahead, but at present the market for fibre to the home (not for fibre to businesses and organisations) is far ahead of demand.

    The Government is into Chorus for hundreds of millions secured by semi-equity. If Chorus tanks, the taxpayers have hundreds of millions at stake. The problem to find an economic way out, and that is obviously what the Government is trying to do.

    In their opposition, Yul Grinner’s NZ First, Possum Pete’s United Fuckup, the Maori Party, and the ghost of ACT have started their campaign to be partners in the next coalition government. The advantages of an MMP system!The power of tiny minorities! Democracy usurped!

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  13. wreck1080 (5,019 comments) says:

    nail … coffin… UFB.

    But, at least NZ hicks get to pay $10 less for copper.

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  14. Jack5 (9,299 comments) says:

    Does Possum Pete Dunne know that if he could get Pete George on to home fibre, PG would be able to quadruple his posting to Kiwiblog?

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  15. Alan (1,087 comments) says:


    “Businesses cannot operate on copper. It’s not about the speed. If anything, it’s latency.”

    Didn’t study physics did you?

    Copper actually has a lower latency than fibre, in prefect conditions it’ll average 95% of the speed of light versus 66% for fibre, depends on the refraction index really. Optical cables of course are better because they support higher bandwidth sure to carrier frequencies.

    The whole copper vs fibre argument is moot, what really matters is the backhaul.

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  16. James Stephenson (3,054 comments) says:

    1.468… So 68% but it’s not really speed or latency, it’s throughput that matters. Copper’s going to be around for decades yet and the problem here is that the ComCom have no clue about the real costs of maintaining a copper network.

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  17. Anthony (880 comments) says:

    Comcom weren’t required to do a full cost of looking after the network – they looked at the price set overseas for that particular copper product where the regulators setting the price had done a full costing. Maybe those regulators got it wrong but I suspect they know more than James Stephenson.

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  18. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Vdsl is perfectly fine for 99% of use cases, the problems are the legacy data caps, ufb is all well and good if the content you are accessing is based in country, but that’s very rarely the case.

    As most data is hosted offshore, the purchase of bandwidth on cables out of nz becomes a major factor. Telecom’s standard vdsl offering comes with a thirty gb data cap. A decent quality movie download these days can be half that on is own.

    Sorting out the fibre backhaul from the exchanges and adding capacity and redundancy to the international links will do much more than fibre to the home. Ufb is like giving people a sports car but only letting them drive at 30kph

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  19. James Stephenson (3,054 comments) says:

    You suspect wrong Anthony. Do you actually know anyone whose job it is to fix copper faults, and how much they get paid to do it?

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  20. James Stephenson (3,054 comments) says:

    Also, let’s put it this way: The Comcom used to set a “price minus” charge from Telecom’s retail price, which since T’com and Chorus separated, they are no longer able to do, hence their fumbling attempts to find some kind of international benchmark.

    What has changed since then, in cost terms for the network owner? Well, data demands have gone through the roof, and voice, which is where the revenue comes from, is dropping away. Then we impose a lower cost for a line that’s got to support VDSL2, have you any idea how interference sensitive that is?

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  21. peterwn (4,287 comments) says:

    The problem here is – will the markets perceive that the Commerce Commission will strangle companies and hence drive away investment or will the markets perceive Chorus as a one-off case. I would not have invested in Chorus when it was split away as I perceived it was too vulnerable to this sort of situation. Perhaps other market players should have seen the writing on the wall and valued the company based on a 5 – 10 year residual life of its copper network, rather than an infinite life based on reinvesting depreciation into the copper asset. Hopefully on this basis the market will view the Chorus situation as a ‘special’ case rather than an overall attack of ‘monopoly’ companies by the Commerce Commission.

    Interestingly, third world countries lacking in communications infrastructure would forgo the ‘copper’ stage and go straight to mobile with fibre for mobile backhaul, schools, etc.

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  22. Ed Snack (2,795 comments) says:

    Well, we know what Chorus’s probable reaction to the low mandated price for copper is, cut back on maintenance and support staff. They’re already overloaded, the delays on repairs is growing and in some areas it can be days before anyone checks out problems. Low cost = low service.

    And you don’t “need” fibre but the speed and throughput makes a lot of things possible that aren’t on copper or radio (although in certain circumstances short range point to point radio is pretty good, I could get over 50 Mbps at one location). I run a medium sized WAN which, because of where my sites are is restricted to around 5 Mbps over radio or copper to each site; and there’s a lot I can’t do effectively over those links. Just as an example one can backup using the right software and consolidating incremental file deltas, but restoring anything more than minimal amounts is essentially infeasible. So I’d certainly go with fibre…if it was ever made available at other than ridiculous install costs; one site has a 6 figure install quote.

    And yes, more overseas bandwidth, or possibly a big caching server farm in NZ. Both of these are expensive and not likely to arrive quickly.

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