By Sophie Boot
Chorus, the telecommunications network operator, increased broadband connections 0.4 percent in the March quarter as customers continued to move away from fixed-line services on the copper network to fibre.
Total broadband connections rose to 1.23 million by March 31 from 1.22 million three months earlier, the Wellington-based company said in a statement.
Fibre connections jumped 21 percent to 112,000. Chorus was halfway through its fibre rollout by the end of the first quarter with building completed for 435,000 premises out of the targeted 830,900.
Fibre uptake improved to 22 percent from 19 percent in the December quarter, and Chorus said it was completing an average of 480 fibre connections per weekday, up from 450 in mid-February.
Fixed-line connections shrank 0.8 percent to 1.74 million in the quarter, with Chorus saying the decline was expected as consumers continue to shift to fibre and 'naked' services, where customers have an internet connection without a landline.
The company won the lion's share of the government's programme to build a fibre telecommunications network to 75 percent of the country, a target which has since been extended to 80 percent.
Chorus estimates the fibre network will cost between $1.75 billion and $1.8 billion to build, and forecast capital expenditure of between $580 million and $630 million in 2016.
The shares last traded at $3.99, and have increased 2.1 percent this year.