Consumers pay the price of broadband decision

The Commerce Commission’s decision to raise the price of broadband internet will hit consumers in the pocket and is the legacy of National’s failed meddling in the Telecommunications Act in 2010, the Green Party said today.

“Families and small businesses will suffer higher prices from this decision, while Chorus – the company that owns the old nationwide copper broadband network – and its private investors will cash in,” Green Party ICT spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“New Zealand already has high internet prices by international standards – 60th in the world according to the International Telecommunications Union – and today’s decision will see people pay even more to get online.

“The new wholesale price is almost $8 a month higher than the current wholesale price, so households who’ve recently seen their monthly broadband bills drop are likely to see them hiked back up.

“We’re seeing a bizarre effect where it’s becoming more expensive to be on the old, slow copper network than it is to be on the new ultrafast fibre network.

“Internet access is such an essential part of business and personal life, we should be looking for ways to make access cheaper, not more expensive.

“The price-setting system clearly isn’t working because the process has resulted in so many draft pricing decisions that are so different from each other, which means the industry and consumers are kept in the dark about what the actual price will end up being.

“Today’s price rise has its origins in Steven Joyce’s meddling with the Telecommunications Act back in 2010-11 when he was Minister, which created a mess that the current Minister Amy Adams is still trying to clean up.

“I hope the current review of the Telecommunications Act can clear up all the uncertainty and disagreement and allow New Zealand to embrace a high-tech, high-skilled, low-pollution path to economic prosperity,” said Mr Hughes.

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