Technology has evolved and we now have a range of methods available that are faster and more reliable that traditional copper-wire based services.

That’s why many phone and internet providers are retiring their copper services, in favour of more modern technologies. Chorus, the wholesale provider who operate the copper network, are beginning to withdraw copper-based telecommunication services in some areas where fibre is available.

What consumers need to know

If you use copper-based services, you can expect your provider to get in touch with you at some point about transitioning to a newer technology. The transition is being phased across several years, so you may not be impacted for some time. If alternatives such as fibre are already available in your area, you can migrate to these services at any point.

The Copper Withdrawal Code outlines the responsibilities for Chorus, who operate the wholesale copper telecommunications network, when withdrawing copper services from an area.

Landline users

One important difference is that older home phones that plugged into the copper network held a small charge and could work in case of emergency. Newer technologies, such as fibre, wireless broadband, VoIP and most cordless home phones require power to work. If there is a power outage, these devices and services will not work. If you use one of these newer technologies, you might need an alternative method to contact emergency services during a power cut, such as a mobile phone.

You can find out more about home phone technologies and contacting emergency services in this short factsheet.

The 111 Contact Code was created to support vulnerable consumers who cannot call 111 in a power cut because they have moved to new home phone technologies like fibre and fixed wireless. Telecommunications providers must take extra steps to ensure that vulnerable consumers are able to contact emergency services in a power cut. If you or someone in your household might qualify as a vulnerable consumer, you can contact your provider and follow their registration process.

Dispute resolution options

Consumers can complain to Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) if they have a complaint about their telecommunications provider’s responsibilities or obligations under the Copper Withdrawal Code and the 111 Contact Code.

If you would like to talk to TDR you can get in touch by:

Where can I find out more?

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) have created a short factsheet, with the support of the Commerce Commission and TDR, about the changes to copper landline and broadband services.

This factsheet covers all the essential information you need to know about the withdrawal of copper services and what you need to be aware of.