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Research report
2 May 2017

Getting broadband internet

We’ve broken down each type of broadband, from basic ADSL to ultra-fast fibre. We also clear up the copper myths surrounding the loss of copper networks when upgrading to fibre.

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N B.
03 May 2020
Correction re free UFB installation option mentioned above.

Due to a Chorus error (putting their UFB connection on the North side of our section - the other side of where the copper connection is) , even though our house is quite close to the street they want us to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for a connection.
We converted from Vodaphone cable to Slingshot. There was no copper wire into our house. We installed condute and cable that Chorus supplied and the tech said was suitable for when UFB fibre came.
Fibre was installed in our street a few months later.
When we asked Slingshot for our "free" upgrade the Chorus Techs who came were not interested in doing anything but a super cheap job (running the cable along a rickety fence and into the house on the opposite side to the existing connection) and cancelled the order with Slingshot saying we were not prepared to contribute towards it - a lie. (I had offered to contribute to 2 solutions).
Slingshot reloaded the order but we got the same 2 techs back and it was plain they just didn't want to do the job - properly anyway.
Fortunately VDSL well and truely meets our needs.

Roger & Jodie W.
09 Oct 2018
Spark charging for NOT having fibre

My mother lives rurally. Fibre is not available.
But Spark are charging her $5/month extra because she's not on fibre.
Are there any options beyond changing provider?
Because this seems grossly unfair to me.
I'm tempted to tell her to insist they install fibre.

Consumer staff
10 Oct 2018
Re: Spark charging for NOT having fibre

Hi Roger & Jodie,

We'll need a little more information from you to be able to help. If you'd like to email our advisors at info@consumer.org.nz we'll get back to you and see what we can do.

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff

Judith S.
06 Oct 2018
You missed out non mobile wireless

Just about everyone needs a mobile these days these days but getting coverage is something else. We were forced to go the other sort of wireless because we could not get cellular at either our lifestyle block or our beach cottage, neither of which is remote. We use inspire.net at both places for both Internet and phone and find it an excellent service.

Martin J.
29 Jan 2018
When 100 is slower than 30?

Recently Spark offered a years free trial of 100 speed vs their standard fibre 30 speed which I already had as part of my mobile package upgrade locked into my home phone and BB which also got upgraded to unlimited Gbs. My internet is now worse, not faster and streams frequently now whereas it didn't do this before. They took out the copper line and I live in an area with frequent power outages so often no phone, no internet.
Chorus wanted to run the cable the most ridiculous route and I helped them install it here and at a friends more logically.
I plug the laptop into the ethernet rather than use Wifi now.
Its hard to believe with all the upgrades I'm worse off, but there you go, It's a fact!

Previous member
19 Jun 2017
Broadband modem

I used a netgear modem with asdl and then upgraded to fibre. When i changed over i found in order to use the phone line (VOIP) i had to use Vodafones supplied huawei modem. Although the download speeds are faster for larger documents i found the processing speed of the modem slowed everyday web browsing down. At this time there doesn't seem to be many fibre and voip compatible modems out there. Can consumer shed any more light on this?

Previous member
20 Jun 2017
Re: Broadband modem

Hi Shane,

There are a number of VoIP-enabled routers available. But the router isn’t the only way to access VoIP. You can also have a phone line in your house enabled for VoIP and then plug your phone directly into the jack. This will likely require a visit from a technician. It would be best to talk to Vodafone about what you need and discuss your speed issues.

Kind regards,
Erin - Consumer NZ staff

Marion O.
20 May 2017
Beware Wifi quick connect buttons

These quick connect buttons are a security hazard. They provide a way for someone with the right software to get access to your internet connection - and use it for free. By default these are usually on. When you set up your devices I would recommend turning the feature off in the router control panel. If you need to add something later like a new printer, you can always turn if back on and then off when connected.

Marion O.
20 May 2017
Wifi limitations

Yes - most people will be using wifi at home but the wifi router supplied by the provider may not be satisfactory - either in wifi speed or range. Our connection is at one end of the house and to reach the other end of the house I wanted to use WDS bridging - a pretty standard feature of wifi routers. That would allow me to put another router towards the other end of the house to extend the range. Unfortunately the Technicolor tc7200 supplied by Vodafone for their cable network has had this feature deliberately disabled. I've turned the wifi on that router off and had to install a piggy-backed second wifi router which has WDS enabled to reach the bridged router. The only thing keeping me with Vodafone is the cable tv - you have to have their internet package to get the tv service!

Dominic L.
15 May 2017
Speeds - ethernet v wireless

Can you comment on the speed tests you link to. Most people now are on wireless and the speeds you identify would not necessarily what they get over their wireless connection to their end device.

Previous member
16 May 2017
Re: Speeds - ethernet v wireless

Hi Dominic,

Yes, there are a few factors that can affect the speed of your internet, the main one being your wireless router (the band and the standard of WiFi it uses). For the fastest speeds, we recommend using a 5GHz band and the “ac” WiFi standard. More info is available here and we’ll have more on this topic soon: https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/ultra-fast-broadband#article-slow-downs

Cheers,
Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Paul J.
14 May 2017
Poor Installation Practices

I had fibre installed and, unfortunately, was not at home when the installation was carried out (my son was). The installation was shoddy, to say the least. Clearly Chorus are under a lot of pressure to get as many installations done as quickly as possible, but it is at the expense good workmanship. If you are getting fibre installed, make sure you (yourself) are at home when it is done, and insist on it being done tidily. My installer ran the fibre down the side of the house, through the foundation vent, and up THROUGH THE FLOOR (!) and OVER THE SKIRTING BOARD (!) to the inside module. She probably had to crawl under the house to do this. Not only did she make it hard for herself, I was astounded she thought this was acceptable!

Linda C.
13 May 2017
ISP's Scaring People re Copper

I am concerned with the approach taken by some ISP's in their communications with people, particularly those who are not tech savvy for various reasons. I have seen letters sent to elderly people worded in such a way that they are fearful they are about to lose their telephone connection unless they swith to fibre.
While there may be some speed benefits with fibre, if you don't use the internet and just have a home phone there is that slight backup of the copper system being more likely still on line if your power goes out, and why should a person who JUST has a home phone have to fork out for a UPS?
I encourage my older friends to have an emergency cellphone (Christchurch EQ taught us a lot of lessons ...) but again because they don't all use them all the time it is a fact they are more comfortable with the copper landline.
The letters should be much clearer as to the fact their copper landline is not imminently in danger of not working any more.

Peter G.
07 May 2017
Fibre may not be as congestion-free as the writeup says

NZ has gone with gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) because it's cheap, but it also has the downside that it's in effect a digital party line. It's a very fast party line, but it's still a party line. This means that as usage grows, it may end up quite congested. We don't really know at the moment, we don't have enough operational experience to tell if there will be problems in the long term.

Harry C.
03 May 2017
Useful article

Thanks for this article. Readers may also be interested in the TrueNet broadband testing site