No one likes slow internet, that much can be gleaned from the rise in frustration levels after you reach your broadband cap level for the month. Everyone has experienced those painful few weeks back on dial-up after your kids or grandkids have been over for the weekend and burned through your broadband limit in a flurry of Facebook, Netflix and Youtube. Millenials – you gotta love ‘em. There are heaps of applications that eat up your bandwidth such as Skype calls with family overseas and streaming On-Demand television which will suffer drops in video quality or long buffering periods if your internet speed it not up to scratch. What is worse is that for every additional device connected to your Wi-Fi the speed or bit-rate available will be further reduced, compounding these problems.
Slow internet can be remedied by using dual-band routers if there are a few of you in the house using broadband, but it won’t solve all your problems. Thankfully, what can solve your broadband woes is Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) / Fibre to the Home/Premises (FTTH/FTTP), which is basically just really fast internet. The average broadband speed in New Zealand is 27.4 megabits per second (Mbit/s), which is not incredibly slow, but it could be faster. With the government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative, however, you might have access to broadband speeds of 100 Mbit/s. Because this is a relatively new initiative, it’s not available everywhere in New Zealand yet but is becoming increasingly more available. By 2019, it’s estimated that 75% of New Zealanders in 33 cities and towns will have access to UFB.
What your options are to upgrade?
If you live in a main area, chances are you might already be on an ultra fast fibre broadband network. Already, 1.2 million New Zealanders have access to it and counting. The main UFB provider in New Zealand is Chorus, but Northpower provides to Northland, Enable in Canterbury and Ultrafast Fibre in Wellington. If you’re not on UFB then, what kind of broadband are you using? And what’s the difference? Standard broadband is delivered using technology called ADSL or VDSL which uses copper wire to transmit through the phone jack in the wall. Copper’s good for ordinary transmission like phone calls, but it just isn’t fast enough for high-speed broadband. Fibre optics, on the other hand, transmit data through sending light down thin strands of transparent glass or plastic. It’s faster because things like the length of cable coming from your house to the exchange unit outside don’t affect the speed of transmission as fibre loses less signal over distance than copper. Also, the photons used in fibre optics travel faster than the electrons used in copper transmissions. Fibre optics, being non-metal, don’t suffer from electromagnetic interference and so there’s less of a chance of any dodgy stuff happening. Being faster makes things like streaming video more enjoyable – imagine a world where you never have to see the word ‘buffering’ on a video again. But, because installing UFB all over New Zealand is a massive job – rewiring the whole country – it’s not going to be available to everyone. If you aren’t sure whether or not it’s in your area yet, there are some great websites that allow you to type in your address and it finds out for you. It’ll tell you whether UFB is in your area, if it’s coming, and if so, when. Upgrading to UFB is easy, but first, you’ll need to get connected.
How do I connect to Fibre?
Like a normal broadband connection, to upgrade to UFB, you’ll need to get in touch with a broadband provider: there are heaps to choose from, like Vodafone, Skinny, Orcon and Slingshot. Once they’ve confirmed that you there’s UFB in your area, they’ll contact Chorus or another company and then one of their technicians will have to come over and install it. You’ll need to be at home when installation occurs, and the technician will sort out the wiring on your property and inside your home. At the moment, installation is mostly free, because Chorus are covering this cost, but that won’t last forever, so upgrading now is a good choice. If you have a massively long driveway, live in a gated community or in an apartment that’s over three storeys high, then you might be charged installation costs. Once the ultrafast broadband has been installed, the only thing you’ll have to pay for are your monthly internet costs. What’s even better is that UFB plans are about the same price as regular broadband. Check with your internet provider to find out more. Unlimited UFB broadband is on average about $79 -$99 per month. Upgrading to UFB is pretty easy and straightforward, the only thing different about the connection is that some more intensive wiring has to take place.
So what happens if you really want to install UFB, but you don’t own your own home so you aren’t sure about how to get it setup?
Ultra-Fast Broadband options for renters
If you’re renting, you’ll need to get permission from your landlord or whoever owns the home for installation to occur. After you’ve ordered your upgrade from a broadband provider, Chorus or another fibre administrator will then content your landlord directly to seek consent. You probably want to chat with your landlord before Chorus contact them, just so that they know what’s going on. If you’re in contact with a property manager rather than the home owner, you’ll have to ask the property manager to get in contact with the owner. It’s best to get this done prior to booking an installation, as it could take some time. Once permission is granted, the Chorus technician will need to meet with the landlord to talk them through the work that needs to go ahead and an agreement must be signed before the setup takes place. If you’re renting an apartment in an apartment building, things can get a bit trickier as consent needs to come from the property owner, and with several different connections that need to happen, this can take a long time. To save time, however, the property owner can pre-consent installation for the entire building. If the property owner has done this, when a tenant (you), places a UFB installation order then Chorus pretty much installs the UFB as they would in any other dwelling. If it’s a standard installation, then no fees occur, but if, as mentioned already, you’re in an apartment that’s above 3 storeys high, then some fees could occur. Whether your landlord covers this or asks you to depends on the individual. If for some reason the homeowner doesn’t want to connect to UFB, you could let them know that it’s essentially no different from connecting to regular broadband and that once the new setup has happened there will most likely be no need for any further work to be done.
Sign me up, how do I get connected?
High-speed internet brings with it a whole new set of opportunities online, from being more connected to family through high-quality video calls that don’t drop out every minute to watching your favourite shows when you want and without all those annoying ads. Ultra-fast broadband unlocks all the best parts of the internet with more and more premium content and possibilities being added everyday. If you are considering upgrading your internet plan but want more information or someone to talk you through it give Geeks on Wheels a shout on 0800 4 A GEEK and they’ll be able to sort you out.