Fibre installer in trench
Research report
27 February 2019

When fibre installs go wrong

Ditch the copper, get fibre, and join the world of ultra-fast broadband (UFB). That’s the dream, but for many the road to get there is a nightmare.

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Debbie B.
17 Mar 2019
It usually works fine .... (but also goes really wrong)

As a Data Networking lecturer, a few people ask or tell me about their fibre installs. Number one bit of advice - always be there when it is happening!
Neither your article nor comments mention the Chorus Order Tracker: https://app.chorus.co.nz/ Our tenants ordered fibre through MyRepublic, who gave us the link and login details. The Tracker meant we all knew what was happening, when there were delays, etc.

Elaine H.
08 Mar 2019
Great job installing fibre with NOW

All our services except sewage access our home under our driveway. When we built 40 years ago we constructed our driveway with removeable pavers. After requesting fibre through NOW Chorus contractors visited our home to scope out the job. We needed to get another power point and phone line dropped into the room before this could happen. We also had to remove the pavers. Once done, they turned up promptly on the Saturday, one guy ran the cable up from the street by burying underneath the paver's base, cut a trench in the carport concrete, inserted the cable and mortered the top. The other technician worked on the inside stuff installing the outside and inside box to the house. The they reconnected the router. (Our own). Our landline then had a short break while it converted to digital. Great job by them, very tidy workmen. In Napier. Several other teams installed fibre into 2 other houses in the street on the same day.

Rodger R.
02 Mar 2019
Chorus is a shocking monopoly

Chorus has no idea what customer relations,honesty to consumers,and time deadlines are about. It abuses its monopoly every day of the week. If there was choice no one would use Chorus.

Steve B.
03 Mar 2019
Steve

Don't forget that Chorus is Telecom, but with a tiny bit of government intervention.

Previous member
02 Mar 2019
It's not the contractors...

I believe that the problems are mostly with the management processes and platform that Chorus use. The contractors and the ISPs have to rely on it and it constantly lets them down. For instance, my ISP at the time told me, when I phoned them for an update, that they could see into the Chorus system (apparently they have access) and that a technician was supposed to have visited the day before. On another occasion a technician called and said that the system told him that I had agreed to the scheduled visit, I hadn't and it was pure luck that I was there. The technician said that the system was always doing things like this, and often they were not notified that they had been scheduled. When they finally installed the fibre the technician told me that he was supposed to be on leave, but had still been scheduled for the job. All the technicians that I dealt with were efficient, friendly and helpful. They all seemed resigned to the screw-ups caused by the system.

Trevor S.
02 Mar 2019
Fibre installed about 19 months ago

We live down a long private lane with 8 houses on it. Our immediate neighbour and ourselves were keen to have fibre but some of our other neighbours weren’t. Eventually my neighbour and I door knocked every other house and had them sign up. We all had to agree or chorus wouldn’t do it. The installation was done in about 3 days using a micro trenching approach, not nearly as invasive as some had thought.
Go to whoa took about 13 months and our install was delayed further when our file was lost somehow.
Later I had problems with our landline dropping out and this took 4 weeks to resolve fully. The third technician sent didfix it but told me that our areas connections had been “stuffed up properly” by the contractors for chorus and he had put in a works order to fix it all.

Margaret B.
02 Mar 2019
Gave up

Before I moved I arranged for fibre to be installed with the ISP I was switching to. There was no consultation with me at all. Documents were sent out to neighbours as I am on a shared driveway. Mine were sent to my previous address that I had left several months before, so I didn't get them until some time later. Therefore I had no chance to discuss with my neighbours. Before I even got my document, which was the wrong one for the owner, my neighbour had declined as she did not understand the document she had been sent and thought her telephone would be disconnected. In the end I gave up. There is a conduit that can be used down the driveway, so external installation should be straight-forward.

Paul B.
02 Mar 2019
Comedy, but no laughs

Chorus sent a chap out to have a look at my connection, and the connection to my neighbour's house at the rear. They would get fibre through a trench, I would be connected by overhead wire to the front of the house.
I argued for a trench because I had recently extended the house and put in new internal wiring following Chorus's advice - the connection point for the was at the back of the house.
No, said the man, it must be connected overhead to the front but you will be able to change it later if you wish.
The team turned up for the build unannounced - they were terrific and agreed with me that the connection should be at the rear of the house but weren't allowed to deviate from the plan. The installation went well.
I have 1Gbit/s connection from Orcon. Around the house I have CAT6 cabling which is super fast. Because of Chorus's decision, I am stuck with 100Mbit/s in each room. This is very quick but only a tenth of what it's supposed to be.
So I called Orcon and they called Chorus and another man was dispatched and he said yes we can move the connection for you: it'll cost $4000.
Fibre is a fantastic product. It's the network of the future and it delivers tremendous opportunity. I now run my business from home and never worry about slow downs or drop outs. But the installation process is a farce.

John M.
07 Nov 2019
Are there good sources of independent advice?

I am waiting for a visit from Chorus, to agree on the connection into the house. (The optical fiber cable has recently been installed, finishing just outside the house.) It would make good sense to be as informed as possible prior to the Chorus visit. Who might I contact that would provide independent advice on what would be good options. I've friends whose service was interrupted for some months after moving from a copper connection to fiber, with the process involved in getting problems fixed quite fraught.

Consumer staff
11 Nov 2019
Re: Are there good sources of independent advice?

Hello John,

The Commerce Commission website has a couple of articles dedicated to phone and broadband. We'd suggest checking them out via the links below:

https://comcom.govt.nz/consumers/dealing-with-typical-situations/household-contracts-and-bills/phone-and-broadband

https://comcom.govt.nz/news-and-media/media-releases/2018/commission-demystifying-broadband-for-new-zealanders

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff