Chorus says it now has 500,000 Ultra-Fast Broadband connections on its network. The wholesale network company also announced plans to cut wholesale prices for the fastest connection speed.

Fibre demand has accelerated in recent months. It took Chorus five years to connect the first 100,000 fibre customers. The most recent 100,000 joined in six months.

In September Crown Infrastructure Partners released numbers showing there were 605,000 connections nationwide for all Chorus, Northpower, UFF and Enable. That total would be higher today.

Customer connections are rising fast, so are their connection speeds. Chorus says customers are moving from entry-level plans to higher speeds. In order to speed the move up-market, Chorus will cut the wholesale price of gigabit fibre broadband connections for home users. 

From the middle of 2019 the wholesale price for a home gigabit connection will fall from $65 to $60. A futher drop to $56 is scheduled for the middle of 2020. This will reduce the price gap between a standard 100Mbps plan and a gigabit plan, making the latter a more attractive proposition for many customers.

While dropping the wholesale price sounds like good news for consumers, it is up to retail service providers to decide whether they pass some or all of the savings onto customers. Some may do this, others may use the cut to fatten their margins.

Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie says fibre broadband demand has been rapidly increasing. She says: "…even more so now as more content moves online and New Zealanders prepare to live stream the Rugby World Cup and other sporting events in 2019."  

Fibre connections on Chorus’ network by plan type

Downstream plan speed. Connections:

——————————————————

50Mbps 84,000

100Mbps 353,000

200Mbps 19,000

Gigabit 36,000

Education & business 100Mbps+ 6,000