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Kiwis rally for reduction in copper wholesale charges

More than 1000 people have provided submissions to the Commerce Commission calling for a reduction in copper wholesale charges, following the launch of Spark’s Be Counted campaign.

The campaign kicked off five days ago, with Spark New Zealand calling on Kiwis to have a say in the regulatory process to set charges for broadband and landlines, because of its importance to the whole country.

Around 95% of New Zealand broadband and landline connections are still on the copper network and Chorus charges make up around 50% of what customers pay, Spark says.

The increased charges will be passed on to Kiwi internet users around the country.

Conor Roberts, Spark New Zealand head of public affairs, says the process for setting the charges is hugely complex, but that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t have a voice.

The Be Counted website enables people to find out more about the broadband charges and easily send in a submission.

“It’s great to see so many ordinary internet consumers having their say. It’s not every day the Commission gets more than 1000 members of the public putting in submissions about its decisions,” Roberts says.

“New Zealanders are calling on the Commerce Commission to justify why its proposed copper wholesale Chorus charges are up to 80% higher than the median charge in comparable countries – that’s up to $180 more per year for every broadband and voice customer.

“The Commission needs to rethink its position and listen to the voice of the public,” he adds.

The Commission is due to release an interim decision in June, with the final determination due in December.