Chorus promising VDSL broadband

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 12:19 15/05/2013

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Faster copper broadband services are set to become more commonly available and cheaper for some New Zealanders.

Chorus announced this morning it had agreed to wholesale top-of-the-line "third-generation" VDSL broadband connections to internet providers for the same price and on the same terms as its dominant second-generation copper technology, ADSL.

Wellington testing company TrueNet reported in October that VDSL could dramatically improve upload speeds in particular, offering broadband users five times the upload speed of ADSL and more than double the standard upload speed of Vodafone's InHome cable network connections previously marketed by TelstraClear in Wellington and Christchurch.

Upload speeds tend to matter most to broadband users who use the internet to engage in social media and to access "cloud-based" software applications.

The download and upload speed advantages provided by VDSL reduce dramatically the further a customer is from their phone exchange or roadside cabinet.

But Chorus said about two-thirds of the 1.8 million New Zealand premises that had fixed-line phones were within a range within which VDSL could provide peak download speeds of 20 megabits per second or greater.

Junior internet providers Snap and Voyager have been most active in selling VDSL to date and Chorus already wholesales 3000 VDSL connections.

But Chorus' decision to make VDSL connections widely available at no extra mark-up to its ADSL wholesale service from June 7 is expected to encourage larger providers to actively promote the technology.

It is up to internet providers to decide whether to charge customers more for the service.

Telecom spokesman Andrew Pirie said it had been trialling VDSL and expected to offer it as an option to customers but could not say when, or whether it would charge a premium.

Vodafone spokeswoman Michelle Baguley said Vodafone did not offer VDSL currently and it was too early to say whether Chorus' announcement today would change that. 

Chorus said VDSL was only a stepping stone to superior fibre-based ultrafast broadband connections, which should be available to three-quarters of New Zealand homes by 2020.

As such it intended to progressively withdraw VDSL as an option for wholesale customers from mid-2015 in regions where it built out the fibre network.

"Chorus may also review the ongoing provision of VDSL if its continued availability affects fibre uptake in Chorus' UFB areas," it said in a statement.

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- The Dominion Post

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