15nov ufb hero
Research report
4 November 2015

Ultra-fast broadband

What’s standing between you and high-speed internet?

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Julie D.
12 Mar 2021
Getting a POA quote for fibre

I live in a rural area and fibre came down my road but stopped half way down, 246m away to be precise. Last May I asked Spark to get a Chorus to do a Price On Application quote on extending the fibre that 246m (what a clunky old system that is). They lost my first application so I started again. They charge a $200 fee to survey this. Then they entice you with $2,000 rough estimate.
This week I was told by one Spark employee that in the five years he has worked for Spark he has never seen one of the POA go ahead and he get asked every week for them from people in rural areas trying to run businesses. That is a lot of $200 fees for nothing. Then a man from Downer rang today to ask if I wanted to do the trench from the boundary, which Chorus will do but at exhorbitant fees. He said he will do the quote but then Chorus adds the risk. I asked what he meant, he said 'risk means money.' he ended by saying it was highly likely 200m of fibre for me would cost $10,000. I told him I could do it myself for $100 as there is already a ditch on the side of the road.
How is this NOT a rort? we have no choice but to be held to ransom by this company. I am outraged, is Consumer looking at this inherantly flawed POA system? NZ needs this for its rural business, unless they want the world and his wife to live in Auckland? Three companies operate from this location, which desperately need this fast broadband. Terrible service, shame on you Chorus

Neville W.
06 May 2021
try CDS

they probably have to go 400 or 600 down below on roadsides I think - but 200mm probably only below on your property. You might find there's hard rock under some of those roadside ditches. There's a directional drilling company near us called CDS (Silverdale). see what they say the cost would be to underground drill, at least you have a comparative cost? I can find out fibre cable cost and let you know.

N & M B.
10 Sep 2016
What’s standing between you and high-speed internet?

It really annoys me to read headings like this, when the answer is Chorus and its interminable rollout times.
Our current date for availability is December 2019 (been pushed back yet again, so don't expect to see it this decade)
This is in urban Auckland. Doubly infuriating as it's been installed literally around the corner from where we live.
Nor is VDSL available. We are usually connecting at about 8Mb with a max of 10Mb (best we can hope for according to Vodafone)

Kate C.
04 Mar 2016
Terrible experience with Vodafone switching to Ultra Fast Broadband

We have just been switched to Ultra Fast broadband, a few helpful things they could have told us before the guy arrived like have an extra power point handy, were not mentioned.
I've now tried to call for 3 days straight, been put on hold for half an hour each time then some overseas connection it seems which is full of static connects, the person says they can't hear me and hangs up! I've never experienced such bad service and have no idea how I'm going to get hold of them. Even if I want to cancel there is nothing I can do. Do not recommend Vodafone for service!!!

Susannah T.
29 Feb 2016
ISPs and speeds

So I am supposed to be on a 100/20 UFF plan yet lately I am getting download speeds of between 7 and 22. I've contacted the ISP about it and expect something will be sorted by Christmas perhaps. By then I'll have changed to Inspire. Getting to the point, I have a TP-Link AC1900 wireless dual band gigabit router. If that's not the cause of the slow speeds I am getting then what else could be and what difference, if any, does the ISP make to the speeds one receives? The ISPs partly sell themselves on the speeds they can offer but are they really just the go-between between the customer and the infrastructure provider(s) and service/performance simply comes down to how well they handle communication with the customer and the infrastructure provider?

Scott C.
07 Feb 2016
Was on the UFB Fibre map, now not

Was suppose to be getting fibre here mid 2016. Now not showing on map. Appears to be one of those dream things or they just push it out into the future again.

Jeavons B.
30 Jan 2016
Power failures and UFB

I didn't see any reference to this possible problem.
Unlike many countries NZ UFB providers do not need to provide electricity for their service thanks to our lax government. UHF requires electricity to power the indoor box. For those for whom the phone is essential an IPS is essential if you run the phone as an adjunct to fibre.

Previous member
01 Feb 2016
Re: Power failures and UFB

Hi Jeavons,

Thanks for your comment. It’s true that UFB doesn’t work in a power cut. To keep it working, you can use a back-up (UPS) battery. Alternatively you can pay to keep a copper line in your house for a phone line or use a cell phone.

Kind regards,

Hadyn
Consumer NZ staff

R J C.
25 Apr 2016
Keeping the Copper Line

So with the lack of any communication regarding a UFB outage from our ISP - Spark we have decided to keep our Landline. This is an additional $54 per month.

Paul W
01 Aug 2016
power backup for ONT

Here is a link to a backup system that plus directly into the ONT http://www.cablemax.co.nz/NewProducts/tabid/99/List/1/ProductID/6167/Default.aspx?SortField=UnitCost%2cProductName

Marion P.
24 Dec 2015
Update to previous comment on telecom providers incorrect UFB records

I forgot to add UFB was installed quite some time ago so there has been plenty of time for the telecom providers to have updated their information. After an email and 3 phone calls to Slingshot they have acknowledged there is UFB. According to the person I spoke to they can’t just upload the accurate Chorus data as they have to reformat it to match their maps.

Marion P.
24 Dec 2015
Telecom providers not providing accurate information of UFB availability

Due to the never ending drop outs I am getting for broadband I have been investigating a move to UFB. I know it has been connected to the property as I was here when the Chorus technicians came and I can see the connection box outside plus I have a letter telling me they have finished the whole area. I am finding the individual phone provider’s records are out-of-date and they insist there is no UFB here. Unfortunately, they seem to have decided once you have typed your address into their search box and received an incorrect answer you aren’t allowed to progress any further and they won’t even permit you to look at the prices. I am trying to avoid typing my address in on their websites but for some such as 2Degrees and Slingshot you can’t get around it. If you want to know if UFB is set up for your address I would only look at the installer’s website for your area, such as Chorus, to check availability as the telecom providers can’t be relied on.

Previous member
25 Nov 2015
What about RBI

Why doesn't RBI Broadband mentioned or even compared as fast internet? Especially the 4g network which can be faster than VDSL and in some cases quicker than some fibre-optic connections.

I would like to see Consumer look into RBI and help people with technology and about other alternative broadband options.

Rob Christiaans Palmerston North

Previous member
26 Nov 2015
re: What about RBI

Hi Robert,

You're in luck – we're planning a similar report on RBI. Please keep an eye out for it in the next couple of months.

Kind regards,

Emily
Consumer NZ staff

Rodney S.
21 Nov 2015
What happens in a prolonged power cut ?

One aspect that wasn't mentioned in the report in November's magazine was what happens if there is a power cut. As the telephone connection is through broadband and dependent on a power supply, how can calls be made when the power is out?

On RNZ Nine to Noon programme some months ago it was suggested that to keep a continuous telephone service, a back-up battery is needed. Will Consumer cover this aspect in a follow-up report please?

Previous member
23 Nov 2015
re: What happens in a prolonged power cut ?

Hi Rodney,

Thanks for your comment. It’s true that UFB doesn’t work in a power cut. To keep it working, you can use a back-up (UPS) battery. Alternatively you can pay to keep a copper line in your house for a phone line or use a cell phone.

Kind regards,

Hadyn
Consumer NZ staff

Paul S.
19 Nov 2015
Re: conflict of interest and TrueNet comments

Hi John,

This article is about ultra-fast broadband (fibre) rollout, expanding and updating an article we wrote in 2013, when little practical information was available. The intention is to explain to consumers more about fibre rollout and the process for obtaining it.

Inevitably, that includes talking about why you’d choose fibre and speed of service, but that isn’t the main thrust. We are not trying to compare fibre with ADSL or VDSL. As your data shows they all vary considerably, based on a multitude of factors. We need to avoid making statements like ‘VDSL gets up to 60Mbps’. That might be true for 3-4% of users, but the distribution of speeds in your data shows the peak to be 20-30 Mbps with a second, smaller peak at 12-16Mbps. For fibre the data shows a clear peak at 25-30Mbps and another at 90-110Mbps (reflecting the plans available, I assume). The data for ADSL shows a range from 2-14 Mbps for all but 10-12% of users. This is the level of data useful for this article, we can’t reasonably get into the details of service speed on a more granular level. Given the article is about the fibre rollout, the speed data shows it can be (and is) much faster. Referring to your previous comment, the percentage of homes it reaches right now is not relevant – it’s an ongoing rollout.

The article was written by Consumer NZ staff and, rather than being opinion-based, is drawn from a number of sources. It went through our usual internal verification process. Crown Fibre Holdings paid to extend the audience from our members to all consumers – hence the report is freely available to all on our website.

We will maintain this as an ongoing article, updating it as required, as more consumers have experience with fibre install. Perhaps we can also look at an article comparing speed of services and ISPs?

Regards,

Paul Smith
Head of Testing, Consumer NZ

Previous member
18 Nov 2015
Conflict of Interest

Hayden, you say below that "The numbers mentioned in this report were verified by Crown Fibre Holdings, who manage the UFB roll out. "

The numbers mentioned are the speeds of ADSL, i.e. copper service speeds. CFH are responsible for Fibre rollout and are hence competitors to copper services. In particular VDSL copper service which has very similar performance characteristics, and so is very competitive with Fibre, yet you do not mention VDSL.

Has this article been sponsored by CFH?

Why did you ask the competitor for performance measurements, rather than the independent measurement service like TrueNet that you know well?

Trevor S.
14 Nov 2015
Other costs and waiting time

As some comments have already noted, there are several issues/fish hooks not included in the article.
Monitored burglar and fire alarm systems need modifying at a cost.
Monitored medical alarm systems need to be considered too.
Very little mention of vdsl which we have at the moment but are going to change to fibre as it has variable speed depending on loading. Our vdsl ran at about 42 mps download initially but slows after school

Paul S.
19 Nov 2015
re: Other costs and waiting time

Hi Trevor,

Thanks for your comments.

We agree that alarm systems and anything that relies on a copper wire connection are a consideration if you are getting rid of that connection – we draw attention to that in a panel at the end of the article.

We haven't tried to compare fibre to VDSL or ADSL, except to indicate the potential speed difference, as the focus of this article is about the process for getting fibre installed.

As we get more feedback from consumers we will update the article and highlight any more pitfalls and considerations when considering a switch to fibre.

Regards,

Paul Smith
Head of Testing, Consumer NZ

Dorothy M.
14 Nov 2015
Spark: A business, or a communications company?

A bit like the first comment to this story (but not as bad), we got our confirmation email "Key Dates: Connection Friday 30 October" mid October. Received the modem a few days after the email.
But we've heard nothing since.
I hope we don't have a five month wait!

John P.
14 Nov 2015
Spark and the Phone

I've joined Spark's Fibre30 plan. About three months after having the cable installed and being connected, Spark sent a flyer offering a deal to have the phone on Fibre as well. At the time it was still using the copper line. I ignored the flyer. About one month later I was phoned by Spark. I was told that if I did not get rid of the copper line, I would be charged an extra $50 per month from November. This is pure blackmail. I had no choice but to change. I don't mind the change, but I do mind Spark's methods.

Prior to the change to fibre, I was advised that my house alarm would be incompatible with Spark. My security firm use Vodafone. That's cost me an extra $10 per month. That amount was offset by a $10 lower monthly for Fibre30, however the king hit was the $565 bill from my security company to upgrade their system to be compatible with Spark.

Upgrades do not come cheap, despite the silver tongued rhetoric of service providers.

P J V.
06 Dec 2015
Hear Hear

I have had exactly the same experience. Spark should have signalled their intent at the time of installing UFB. It is blackmail at short notice.

Maxine C.
14 Nov 2015
fish hooks

I'd like to see some information on the effect on services such as monitored home security systems.

Paul S.
19 Nov 2015
re: fish hooks

Hi Maxine,

Thanks for your comment.

We agree that alarm systems and anything that relies on a copper wire connection are a consideration if you are getting rid of that connection – we draw attention to that in a panel at the end of the article. At the moment it is just a note to flag it as a possible issue. As we get more feedback from consumers we will update the article.

Regards,

Paul Smith
Head of Testing, Consumer NZ

Previous member
11 Nov 2015
TrueNet comments

Hayden, this report could benefit from contacting others in the industry, especially Consumer research companies, such as TrueNet, who measure UFB connection performance. TrueNet offered to assist in the past and would have provided more information on comparative performance of ISP's on UFB, let alone the important missing discussion about VDSL. Such information is publicly available on https://truenet.nz/about-broadband though, updated today.

VDSL is available to about 80% of NZ homes, Fibre is not yet available to 40% of homes. You fail to mention VDSL, which has speeds and performance almost comparable with Fibre speeds and is available to 80% of homes.

The reference above shows actual evening ADSL speeds range from 2 to 20Mb/s with most between 6 and 10Mb/s, not "for most consumers ADSL’s download speed reaches 10-15Mbps at the best of times and usually sits closer to 5Mbps." The same chart shows VDSL ranges from 4-60Mb/s, with most between 20 and 30Mb/s.

On Wifi, your article discusses 5GHz options via the ac standard. "Routers use different standards of WiFi represented by letters: b, g, n and ac. The newest one, and the one you want, is “ac” as it allows for the fastest speeds over your home network. The other standards won’t give you speeds that maximise your fibre connection." This is not enough information, ac does provide faster speeds, but ONLY VERY CLOSE to the router, at greater distances and through walls it can be a lot slower, so performance depends very much on location of the two ends.

TrueNet has offered support to Consumer in the past and extend a welcome to work with us to report accurately on Internet connection issues. Opinion based on limited research is not what I believe Consumer is about.

Previous member
11 Nov 2015
re: TrueNet comments

Hi John,

Thanks for your comment. The numbers mentioned in this report were verified by Crown Fibre Holdings, who manage the UFB roll out. Our research is not opinion-based.

Regards,

Hadyn
Consumer NZ staff

Dellae M.
11 Nov 2015
True

You raise very valid points which the consumer rep dismisses out of hand.

It is sad to see Consumer going the way of the tabloids with poorly researched articles.

Previous member
13 Nov 2015
Hayden

So you had an opinion on ADSL speed, went to CFH who do not supply ADSL or have any other involvement in ADSL delivery and had your opinion on ADSL speed verified???

CFH are the government contractor for Fibre rollout, which is performed by LFC's on their behalf - e.g. Chorus.

We also measure fibre speeds from over 100 homes, reporting those speeds to the public on our website, something CFH do not do.

TrueNet have over 200 million tests based on tests taken from over 400 locations every hour of every day for 4 years, yet you did not seek stats from us.

Previous member
15 Nov 2015
ADSL2+

Consumer also failed to mention the fact that it is ADSL2+ that is supplied. This could be confusing for people who read information from North America which uses ADSL, theoretical max 6Mb/s, which is much slower than ADSL2+ (theoretical max of 24Mb/s). We get 14 -17Mb/s here in Napier.

Irene d.
10 Nov 2015
FIVE MONTH wait for Fibre with Bigpipe, and still no sign of when it will be installed.

We ordered fibre on the 15th of June, after Bigpipe told us it was available, we're still waiting for an install date. The mistakes and miscommunication from Bigpipe and Chrous have been like a comedy of errors, just not funny. We'd have switched away from Bigpipe, but we can't do that without being sent to the back of the fibre install queue! As soon as we get fibre I'm switching to a better ISP!

Martin M.
14 Nov 2015
Be prepared for a long wait

Like others have said, the installation process is long and frustrating! Waited from May til finally installed last week of October. Took several days off work to be home when they said only to have noone come and date delayed for another month or so. Finally got it all sorted, turns out it was mostly Chorus being overloaded with orders and not enough staff, not the ISP's fault (except not communicating delays very well)