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Chorus increases broadband connections 2 percent as fixed-line numbers slip in Sept quarter

Wednesday 23rd October 2013

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Chorus, the network operator spun out of Telecom in 2011, increased broadband connections by 2 percent in the latest quarter as its fixed-line connections slipped 0.3 percent.

Broadband connections increased to 1.135 million at Sept. 30, from 1.112 million at June 30, the Wellington-based company said in a statement. The biggest gain was in enhanced unbundled bitstream access connections which increased by 57,000 to 737,000 over the quarter.

The company's fixed-line connections declined to 1.778 million from 1.784 million in the quarter, led by a fewer baseband copper connections which slid by 12,000 to 1.509 million.

Chorus said its fibre connections grew to 22,000 across its ultrafast broadband network and its non-ultrafast broadband network in the quarter. Chorus is investing about $3 billion, with up to $929 million of government financing, to deliver fibre optic broadband infrastructure directly to more than 800,000 schools, businesses, medical facilities and homes.

Chorus has completed work to build the ultrafast broadband network past about 171,500 premises, bringing 226,000 end users within reach of the network. That includes 41,639 priority premises such as schools, hospitals and businesses, meaning 54 percent of priority premises are now passed.

The company today proposed a new range of ultrafast broadband products, giving its retail clients the opportunity to offer their customers faster speeds over fibre. Chorus said it will consult with the industry and aims to have the new products available by Jan.1.

The shares fell 1.2 percent to $2.47 in trading yesterday, and have shed 16 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'buy' based on nine analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $3.05.

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