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7 Things You Should Know About Fibre Broadband in NZ

1. What’s the big deal, is Fibre Broadband Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Here’s the thing; the old way (ADSL and VDSL) uses copper wire technology which is a lot slower and less reliable than fibre broadband. Fibre broadband uses optical fibre technology which is much faster and more reliable. Fibre broadband also allows multiple signals to travel through it at the same time. This means that your internet will not be slower when lots of people in your area are using the internet at the same time. Who wants to wait for pages to load and video calls to unfreeze? And let’s face it we use the internet for so many things; shopping, banking, meetings, connecting with friends and family, dating, homework, study, listening to music, getting paid, ordering food, bookings for flights; hotels; restaurants; concerts, watching movies, gaming, exercise videos… A slow internet connection means a lot of wasted time and honestly, there are much better ways to waste time than staring at a loading icon. All you need to know about getting up to speed

 

2. What Fibre Broadband Speed Do You Need?

You’ll have to ask yourself this question. The speed you want is the first thing you need to decide when you’re choosing your fibre broadband plan. The good news is that if you don’t make the best choice first time it’s easy to up-grade or down-grade by making a call to your Internet Service Provider (aka ISP). With ADSL and VDSL you don’t have this option, they just are what they are.

Internet speed is the speed at which data transfers from the World Wide Web to your device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc) and vice versa. The speed of this data is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). One megabit is equal to 1,024 kilobits. This means that 1.0 Mbps is more than 1,000 times faster than 1.0 kilobits per second (Kbps). High-speed internet connection known as broadband has download speeds of at least 768 Kbps and upload speeds of at least 200 Kbps. The difference between download speeds and upload speeds can be explained like this; download speed is the rate that data is transferred from the internet to your computer, while upload speed is the rate that data is transferred from your computer to the Internet.

Fibre Broadband plans in NZ start with download speeds of 30Mbps and can go up to 200Mbps (some providers offer more). The most common is 100Mbps. Upload speeds don’t have as much variation; most offer from 10Mbps to 20Mbps, although there are plans with 50Mbps. Plans that are “synchronous” 100download/100upload are available from some providers.

With Fibre Broadband you will experience faster download and upload speeds, more reliable connectivity, clearer and sharper video calls, among other things. When deciding what speed is right for you it’s a good idea to think about what you will use your internet for. Here is a rough guide to help you;

30 Mbps, which is about the same as VDSL (copper technology). This is good for general use, for example Skype, Spotify will run fine on a 30 Mbps connection.

100 Mbps connection will allow you heavier use such as YouTube, Netflix on multiple devices at the same time.

200+ MPs is for serious use! Mostly gamers go for this speed.

How much faster it that?…

Okay, let’s say you want to download a movie in HD; here’s how long it will take to download if you have;

ADSL; 1 hour

VDSL; 33 minutes

Fibre Broadband 100 Mbps; 6 minutes

Fibre Broadband 200 Mbps; 3 minutes

Fibre Broadband 1 Gbps; 40 seconds

So, you see, it does make a difference! So, the next question is….

 

3. Can You Get Fibre Broadband at Your Place?

Most of the main cities and towns in NZ have fibre broadband coverage already, or installation is planned for some time soon. You can find out if fibre has been installed in your area, or if and when installation is planned at https://broadbandmap.nz/

The NZ government is investing a ton of money into major initiatives to bring faster, better internet to more places in NZ. The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme is scheduled to have 84% of New Zealanders able to connect to Fibre Broadband by 2024. The Fibre broadband roll-out in NZ is being done in stages and starts with thirty-three towns and all the main cities in the first stage. This stage is well underway however some urban areas will not get fibre until 2019. This plan will have 80% of everyone living in New Zealand with fibre installed in their street by the end of stage two.

The Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is for New Zealanders living outside the UFB coverage areas and is a little bit different from the UFB programme. People living in these areas may wait longer for coverage. You can find out more about the Rural Broadband Initiative at;

http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/fast-broadband/the-rural-broadband-initiative-and-getting-connected

 

4. Who Installs Fibre Broadband in Your Area?

Local Fibre Companies (or LFC’s) are the companies that own, install and maintain the fibre broadband cables and exchanges. These are mostly underground, you might have seen works being done in the streets around your area to install fibre broadband cables. The Local Fibre Companies are partnered with the NZ government to make the UFB programme that we just talked about happen. There are four LFC’s covering New Zealand;

Northpower Fibre is the Local Fibre Company for Whangarei.

Ultra-Fast Fibre Limited covers Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Tokoroa, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Hawera and Wanganui.

Enable Networks Limited is your LFC if you live in Christchurch (including Lincoln, Prebbleton and Rolleston) and Rangiora.

Chorus covers Ashburton, Auckland (including Pukekohe, Waiuku, Waiheke), Blenheim, Dunedin, Fielding, Gisborne, Greymouth, Invercargill, Kapiti (including Paekakariki, Raumati, Paraparaumu,Waikanae), Levin, Masterton, Napier & Hastings, Nelson, Oamaru, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Rotorua, Taupo, Timaru, Wellington (including Hutt City, Upper Hutt and Porirua) or Whakatane.

These companies are not the ones you pay for your Fibre Broadband. The company you pay for your fibre broadband is your Retail Service Providers (RSP), that’s the provider you have to choose…and choose wisely…

 

5. How Much Will Fibre Broadband Cost You?

That depends on you…you have choices. And choosing the right provider could save you a lot of money! It’s good to know that in most cases fibre broadband is not more expensive than copper connections. Lots of providers charge pretty much the same for copper broadband and fibre broadband connections, in fact sometimes they even charge less for fibre broadband.

Some providers give the option of a fibre broadband plan with a phone, and most offer varying contract lengths or no contract. These choices usually only make a small difference to the price. We’re talking just a few dollars, or nothing at all. It’s more about the speed and data allowance you choose, that’s what affects the pricing.

The best advice is to compare broadband providers (RSP’s) because there’s a huge difference in what RSP’s charge for the exact same service! You could trawl through the internet comparing different providers, but this is a lot of work. The easy way to do this is by using a price comparison website, such as myCompare. This is highly recommended or you could be paying through the nose for exactly the same product.

Get this for example; depending on the provider unlimited Fibre 100 Broadband could cost you $70, or you could pay up to $165 per month…for the exact same thing! That’s a huge difference! See what we mean? It really does pay to compare broadband providers!

Does cheaper fibre broadband mean a better connection? Nope, it’s not a case of “you get what you pay for”.

Have a look at the chart below. It shows the highest and lowest prices offered currently (at time of writing) by a broadband provider in NZ. It also shows that if you don’t compare broadband prices you could be paying a whole lot more for a slower connection and less data.

SPEED LIMIT LOWEST PRICE HIGHEST PRICE
ADSL

Limited $55 $144
Unlimited $68 $160
VDSL

Limited $60 $154
Unlimited $75 $166
Fibre 30

Limited $70 $139
Unlimited $60 $155
Fibre 100

Limited $60 $150
Unlimited $70 $165
Fibre 200+

Limited $100 $170
Unlimited $89 $185

 

 

6. What’s the Process of getting Fibre Broadband at Your NZ Address?

The process may vary slightly depending on your chosen provider but the first thing to do is find out if fibre broadband is available in your street. You could ask your provider, but if they are not able to provide fibre broadband in your area then they might tell you it’s not available. It’s best to check with a website such as myCompare. Once you establish that fibre broadband has been installed in your street then you need to make sure that your provider has access to this. If they don’t (meaning they can only offer ADSL or VDSL) then you will have to consider changing providers, but, as you already know, it’s worth comparing the prices offered by other providers anyway.

Once you know that fibre broadband is available in your street and you have chosen your provider the process goes something like this…

Fibre Requested– You request Fibre plan from your chosen service provider.

Order placed – The service provider then places an order with the Local Fibre Company.

Retail Service Provider Contacts You – They’ll ask you (via email or phone) if fibre broadband has already been installed into you house. You can tell by finding a small white box on the wall somewhere inside your house. This is called the ONT. If you have an ONT then your service provider will need to know the serial number. They should also explain the connection process and confirm contact details etc.

Consent-If you don’t already have fibre installed and you are renting then you will need to get consent from your landlord. Or if the cables have to be installed through shared property (such as a right of way) then you will need to get consent from other owners of the shared property. This can be any form of written consent, there is no particular format and you don’t need to send it to your Retail Service Provider. Your Local Fibre Company will ask you for it before they do the installation.

Scope– Your Local Fibre Company will contact you to arrange an appointment for a technician to come and look at your property and discuss installation options with you (things like where to put equipment).

Civil works – Any works such as trenching and laying of fibre cables from the street to your house will be done.

Installation– A date will be arranged for the installation and you’ll need to be home on this day. On this day, a tech will install the ONT inside your house and connect the cables from outside your house to the ONT inside. Then your Retail Service Provider will turn on your fibre broadband and you’ll be away laughing.

 

7. Which is the right WIFI Router for Fibre Broadband? Important to know so you don’t block the flow…

WIFI Routers let multiple devices connect to the internet through WIFI signal instead of through a wire. You probably do want WIFI or you’ll only be able to use your fibre broadband with a computer plugged into a modem and stuck in one place. And you probably want to use your smartphone at home without chewing up your mobile data, and connect other devices too.

Lots of fibre broadband providers in NZ have fibre broadband offers that include a wireless router and some require you to buy your own (these ones usually give the option of buying it from them). You might already have a suitable modem or you might want to buy your own elsewhere. It’s important to have the right wireless router because it’s the main thing that can slow down your broadband connection, no matter what speed you’re paying for. Imagine a huge river that is damned and the water can only drip out through a small pipe

Routers are mainly one of two “bands” 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Don’t worry about what that means, all you need to know is that the one you want is 5GHz. These ones can transfer more data and the signal is generally more stable.

The other thing you need to know is that routers come in different networking standards; a,g,n and ac. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what that means either. All you need to know is that you need “ac”, this is the newest one and it’ll give you the fastest speed. If you choose any of the others you won’t get the best from your fibre broadband.

 

Now you know your stuff

That’s pretty much the skinny on NZ Fibre Broadband. If you’ve read this far you’re pretty clued up on Fibre Broadband in NZ. And…you know what to do to make sure you get a good deal. Just saying.