CallPlus to extend Better Network to reach more NZ homes
CallPlus has deployed the largest Unbundled Local Loop network in New Zealand with over 150 exchanges nationwide reaching 900,000 households.
Today, this network is used by the CallPlus retail brands, Slingshot and Flip, to provide home voice and broadband services at significantly lower prices.
Mark Callander, CEO of CallPlus, states “Our plan is to extend the reach of our Better Network to a further 350,000 homes throughout the country by unbundling an additional 150 exchanges and roadside cabinets with VDSL2 capability. A significant portion of this investment will be non-urban areas that are currently under served with little real choice in terms of telecommunication services.”
“While the economics are not as good as the initial roll out, there will be significant benefits in making our New Zealand developed voice platform available to as many homes as possible,” says Callander.
CallPlus will deploy VDSL2 technology in these exchanges and cabinets thereby improving speeds into the home - with the latest iteration of this copper-based technology being capable of running at 100mbps if the customer is within 400-500 metres.
CallPlus is fully supportive of the eventual move to fibre, but the short term focus for the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) network build is priority areas including schools and business. “CallPlus Business is already providing retail fibre services over this network to these market segments, in fact over 75 schools have already signed up. With eighteen handovers established throughout the country, CallPlus is one of the largest players in the UFB market today.”
The reality with fibre to homes is that the forecasted number of connected homes over the next decade is not much more than the forecasted household population increase.
“This combined with the fact copper based services play a critical role in reducing the digital divide for those homes that cannot afford fibre, could leave New Zealand with almost the same number of households still connected to copper networks by 2020.”
Callander concludes “New Zealand can’t afford to slip further behind the rest of the world and investment in copper based services such as VDSL is a logical step that will assist the eventual migration and uptake to fibre. It’s now up to the Commerce Commission to ensure ISPs don’t simply get squeezed at the expense of Chorus and ultimately competition in the market”.