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Chorus fibre connection growth outpaces copper line decline in March qtr

Wednesday 10th April 2019

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Chorus added more broadband connections than it lost in the March quarter as growing demand for fibre outpaced its copper losses in areas where it isn't building the ulftrafast broadband network. 

The company added a net 5,000 broadband connections in the three months ended March 31, taking it to 1.19 million, and up from 1.18 million a year earlier. Of that, it has 556,000 fibre connections, adding 39,000 connections in the quarter, and up from 394,000 a year earlier. 

That more than offset the 22,000 fewer ADSL copper connections and a 12,000 decline in VDSL connections, which were at 352,000 and 283,000 respectively. 

Chorus won the lion's share of the government-sponsored UFB programme, rolling out fibre-to-the-home across most of the country. In areas where Chorus isn't building the network, it lost 7,000 broadband connections. In rural areas not covered by UFB, it lost 1,000 broadband connections. 

The network operator completed 43,000 fibre installations in the March quarter, with a shorter average lead time of nine days, compared to 12 days in the December period. It's 73 percent through the UFB rollout with 771,000 premises passed and 1.02 million customers able to connect to fibre, indicating uptake of 53 percent. 

That penetration has been deepest in Waiuku, north of Auckland, and in Queenstown, where both rates were at 62 percent. Take-up in Auckland is at 57 percent, Wellington is lagging at a little over 40 percent, while Kapiti has the lowest penetration rate at about 30 percent. 

Chorus said monthly average data usage per connection climbed to 247 gigabytes in the March quarter, from 235 GB in December. Of that, fibre connections use an average 329 GB compared to 175 GB on copper. 

The company's total fixed line connections shrank by 14,000 in the quarter to 1.47 million, and were down from 1.54 million a year earlier. 

Chorus shares have been trading near a record. They closed at $6.05 yesterday, up 25 percent so far this year. 


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