New Zealand is getting better fibre broadband coverage throughout the country, thanks to the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) brought out by the government in 2015. The RBI aims to provide 87% of Kiwis with ultra-fast fibre (UFB) by 2022, which promises broadband speeds not lower than 100Mbps download and 50Mbps upload wherever it may be.
Ultra-fast fibre is unlike any other fibre broadband types as it utilises the gigabit-capable passive optical network. It offers a faster and more stable internet connection that’s less affected by external factors like corrosion and other environmental causes.
However, besides these factors, how is it any different from the other broadband types available in New Zealand? For this, you’ll need to know the different ways that fibre is delivered to your address.
There are two ways that fibre is delivered to your area: fibre to the property (FTTP) and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). While they both use fibre optic cables, they work differently and their availability also varies greatly throughout New Zealand. They are serviced to Kiwis with the terms: Fibre+ for FTTP and Fibre 100 for FTTC.
FTTP delivers the fastest broadband speeds across the country, topping 900Mbps download and 500Mbps upload speeds. It’s more than enough for both light and heavy online tasks such as streaming content, downloading large files, playing games, and video calling with your friends and family.
These exceptional speeds are made possible as the fibre optic cables run directly to your address! There isn’t a cabinet that acts as a ‘layover’ point from the main lines of the provider to your property – meaning that you get an end-to-end broadband connection.
While this is the best fibre broadband that you can get in NZ, it’s availability is limited. Optic cables are often expensive, and you may need to invest a huge sum of money to install it in remote locations. Because of this, it’s mostly only available in highly populated areas like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, among others.
FTTC may not be as fast, but it’s average speeds are still 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload! Unless you’re doing strenuous tasks that require huge amounts of bandwidth, this is enough for an average Kiwi user. With FTTC, you can simultaneously stream, watch, play, and download content with plenty of bandwidth still leftover!
Unlike FTTP, fibre optic cables don't go directly with FTTC. Instead, the fibre cable from the provider stops connecting at a roadside cabinet. This cabinet then delivers signals to your home using copper cables – the same cables used in ADSL, VDSL, and landline connections.
As the roadside cabinet is responsible for distributing your broadband, the closer your home is to the cabinet it, the faster your internet will be. Consequently, the farther your home is from it, the more unstable your connection will be. As copper lines are also well-established in NZ, Kiwis located outside major population centres can get FTTC as well.
Ultra-fast fibre – also known as Fibre+ – is delivered to your home through FTTP. As of 2019, there are 33 areas across the North and South Islands that can now take advantage of UFB. However, this initiative isn’t done just yet!
The RBI aims to cover 190 new towns by 2022, and 150 more remote towns by 2024. Although fibre cables and laying the groundwork for it isn’t cheap, the NZ government ensures that consumers won’t need to shoulder the costs. UFB plans are maintained at affordable prices through the Commerce Commission regulation.
As this initiative is continuously rolling out, Fibre+ may now be available in your rural community! To check if you can take advantage of it in your area, use our fibre comparison tool at CompareBear.
We list only great value deals from rural broadband providers, so make sure to check out their offerings too. Compare rural broadband plans and find the right fit for your household with CompareBear today!
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