Is the end nigh for copper phone lines? Don’t lose your voice – consider VoIP for business

With the successful rollout of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) across the country, fibre is becoming accessible to more and more New Zealanders. In fact, InternetNZ reports that by 2024, UFB fibre will reach 85% of the population, both at home and at work.

There has been a lot of discussion around what this could mean for the old copper network, which has served us well but is now becoming more difficult and expensive to maintain. Chief amongst these discussions is the potential to decommission copper lines in areas where fibre is available.

This would mean that traditional phone landlines may no longer be available to those that can access fibre. We take a look at the proposed change, and what it could it look like for businesses who still rely on copper lines for phone service.

What’s happening, and why?

Currently, the Commerce Commission is looking at implementing a Copper Withdrawal Code. Under this initiative, plans could be in place as soon as mid-2020 to make fibre services the only option in some parts of New Zealand, as old copper lines used to deliver telephone and DSL services are decommissioned.

Areas that are designated as specific fibre areas (places where fibre is available) would no longer support services that run on copper lines, such as ADSL/VDSL and traditional phone landlines. Homes and businesses in these areas would have to upgrade to fibre to continue receiving services.

You can read Chorus’s June 2019 letter to the Telecommunications Commissioner regarding this project here

The decision to focus on fibre post-2020 is, says InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter, the right step to develop future networks and “move beyond the limits of the old copper network”.

VoIP to the rescue

While many are aware of the advantages fibre offers regarding internet speed and capacity, it also provides many more capabilities for voice communications over old landline phone systems. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is essentially phone services delivered via the internet, and provides better call clarity, higher call capacity, and removes the need for expensive on-site PBX hardware.

Integrating your phone line with your fibre via business-specific VoIP services can offer other major advantages:

Single, simplified network

VoIP solutions integrate both voice and data in a single network. This allows you to run not only voice calls over the same system, but also voicemails, emails, faxes, and video conferences.

Lower cost

VoIP can be implemented with traditional hardware in IP-enabled phones, but it can also be used directly over the computer using a headset, meaning less hardware is required and maintenance costs are reduced.

When it comes to phone calls, there is opportunity to save on calling costs with competitive bundles or flat rate, per user pricing models.


VoIP systems make it fast and easy to add or remove staff and extensions, so it’s simple to increase or decrease as your business grows and changes. With simple per user pricing typically available, additional costs are minimal.

Increased productivity

Calls can be easily redirected to mobile phones, allowing employees to continue receiving calls while away from their desks or in the event of an internet disruption.

Smart features

Using a Cloud PBX allows you to easily implement and control features such as automated attendant (IVR), conditional call handling, call forwarding, caller display and call waiting, hold music, and more.

If you’re ready to make the call and switch to VoIP, check out our business solutions for voice, or contact our friendly team on 0800 4 SPEED (0800 477 333).