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'Up to 600,000 able to benefit from 300Mbps fibre upgrade' - Chorus

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Chorus has announced its largest-ever performance upgrade for New Zealand fibre customers, as its ultra-fast broadband fibre rollout continues to track ahead of schedule.

Over the next three months, Chorus will work closely with broadband retailers to upgrade customers on its wholesale 100Mbps fibre service. The change will triple the download speed to 300Mbps, while increasing the upload speed five-fold from 20Mbps to 100Mbps, recognising the importance of upload speeds when working from home or using cloud services.

Chorus also plans to upgrade businesses using its wholesale 'Business Evolve' 100/100Mbps plans and 'Small Business Fibre' 100/100Mbps plans to 300/300Mbps and 500/500Mbps, respectively.

Chorus has built the lion's share of the country's fibre network over the past ten years, giving New Zealand a crucial socio-economic head start over other countries. The fibre build propelled New Zealand's broadband infrastructure well ahead of that in Australia, the UK and many other countries. However, some countries, where fibre is ubiquitous are starting to pull ahead.

The residential and business fibre upgrade announced today will see a sea change in broadband performance for the majority of fibre-connected homes and businesses. The average speed on the Chorus network is slightly above 200Mbps, meaning those on a fibre 100Mbps plan today have a lower than average connection speed. With 4K TV content becoming more and more widely available, people working more flexibly and online consultations becoming more mainstream, fast fibre speeds are only going to become more important.

Commenting on the upgrade, Chorus CEO JB Rousselot said, "Now more than ever, people are relying on fast, reliable broadband connections in their homes and businesses.

"In 2011, at the start of UFB, 30Mbps was considered a great broadband speed. In 2015, as Netflix launched in New Zealand, ‘great broadband’ increased to 100Mbps. We recognise that it is now time to shift up a gear again to ensure New Zealanders can take real advantage of the connectivity available to them.

"Our network traffic monitoring is showing that there are homes and businesses on fibre 100/20Mbps who regularly max out their broadband connection. While applications manage this congestion, it can result in buffering or lower resolution streams that can detract from the enjoyment of a great broadband experience.

"The performance upgrade we're announcing today is a significant step forward, tripling the download speed of our most popular fibre plan for, potentially, 600,000 homes and businesses, with no price increase at wholesale.

"To deliver this upgrade before the end of the year we’ll need to work closely with our broadband retailers, their support is crucial and much appreciated."

In June, the monthly average household data usage over fibre averaged 500GB or half a terabyte, up from 436GB the year before. The latest lockdown has also seen unprecedented levels of data consumption over the network.

Sixty-five per cent of Kiwi households have connected to fibre, with 120,000 new fibre connections in the last financial year. Demand for reliable, high-capacity broadband continues to grow, with nearly 20 per cent of fibre customers now opting for a gigabit connection.

"We know that improved connectivity has positive societal and community benefits in an increasingly digital society," continues Rousselot.

"Upgrading the speed for up to half a million connections will allow more people to do so much more with their fibre connection at the same time, while still benefiting from a very reliable broadband service."

Consultation with broadband retailers on how best to pass through the plan speed increase to their customers is underway. Chorus anticipates that most customers on the 100Mbps fibre plan will be able to benefit from the enhanced performance in early December.

"The Commerce Commission's independent benchmarking consistently shows that fibre ranks number one for downloads, uploads, HD streaming and low latency. We’d encourage New Zealanders yet to make a move to fibre to find out more by either visiting our website, www.chorus.co.nz, or contacting their retailer for more information about how fibre could work for them," concluded JB Rousselot.

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