Chorus ahead of target with UFB rollout

Dylan Bushell-Embling
27 Aug 2013
Daily News

Chorus, the wholesale telecom infrastructure company separated from Telecom NZ in 2011, has reported a net profit of NZ$171 million ($133.6m) for its first full financial year of operation.

The profit figure for the year ending in June compares to a NZ$102 million net for the seven months to June 2012.

Chorus, the main company building New Zealand's Ultrafast Broadband fiber network, also revealed that its rollout is 18% complete and is ahead of target. The network passed around 153,000 premises as of end-June.

Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe said the company had rolled out over 3,000km of fiber in the last 12 months. The company invested NZ$579 million in fiber for the FY13 financial year, representing 85% of its gross capital expenditure.

The UFB is a government-led project to roll out FTTH to 75% of the New Zealand population. The concurrent Rural Broadband Initiative, which Chorus is also participating in, aims to improve speeds for the remainder. The RBI has now passed 51,200 rural end-users, Chorus announced.

Former state-owned monopoly Telecom NZ offered to structurally separate its wholesale and retail operations in order to be able to participate in the UFB project. Shareholders approved a demerger in October 2011.

Looking ahead to FY14, Chorus is anticipating that proposed changes to the regulatory environment governing wholesale broadband access prices will lead to a low single digit percentage decline in ebitda for the financial year.

Bur Ratcliffe said Chorus' management is “pleased with the principled approach the Crown is taking to the regulatory review. We’re seeking a clearer, more aligned regulatory environment that delivers the right incentives to encourage the transition to our fiber network.”

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