First Phase of Fiber Build Completes in New Zealand


In a remarkable achievement, New Zealand’s incumbent telecom provider, Chorus has completed the first phase of its fiber build to cover 28 towns and cities on time and with the allocated budget.

The project took nine years for completion. Chorus could successfully complete the project as per plans. New Zealand’s Communications Minister Kris Faafoi joined the event to mark the success of the project in Auckland.

The event was marked by providing the connection of the final leg of the fiber optic network of the project. This is the first phase of the Ultra-Fast Broadband, known shortly as UFB in New Zealand.

The access to extremely fast broadband makes a significant difference to the lives of New Zealanders. The on-time completion of the first phase shows the commitment of the Chorus in improving the connectivity.

Chorus has received good support from government authorities irrespective of the changes in the political leadership. New Zealand has shown how a public-private partnership can work very well and deliver an extremely cost-effective outcome for taxpayers.

In building the first phase of UFB, Chorus laid about 28,000kms of fiber optic cables. With the first phase of the fiber build now complete, Chorus said it will continue to work on the second phase, UFB2, and UFB2+, taking fiber to a further 300 or so communities.

Chorus officials said, it was encouraging that so many New Zealanders are using the fiber network, with uptake continuing to exceed expectations.

When Chorus began the fiber rollout, the contractual target was to achieve 20 percent uptake by the end of 2019. Uptake is currently sitting at more than 55 percent. One of the main factors that have highlighted the need for fiber is the huge spike in data use on the fiber optic network.

Back in 2011 when the build started, the average household was only using 12GBs of data a month. Fast forward to today and now it’s 279GBs. Fiber users are consuming even more data, averaging 360GBs a month.

A total of around 2.2 million fiber kilometers have been laid within a span of nine years. Though the initial target for the uptake of fiber was 20 percent by the end of 2019, Chorus has received a good response from subscribers and the uptake today is 55 percent.

When the Chorus started the fiber build in 2011, the average connection speed was 10Mbps. Now the connection speed has increased over 125Mbps. The average internet data usage was 12GBs, which has grown to 297GBs.

Chorus residential and small business fiber users are now averaging 360GBs of internet data monthly
Peak time network throughput now regularly above 2Tbps. A new peak time record of 2.60Tbps coincided with the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. Gigabit connections are also growing rapidly with nearly 70,000 subscribers as of now. Chorus has also launched 2Gbps and 4Gbps wholesale plans (Hyperfibre), which will be available from February 2020, with an 8Gbps service on the plan in the near future.

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