back to article New Zealand carrier says Cu later, copper: we're giving customers a glassing instead

While Australia's nbnTM presses ahead with its Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) strategy, Kiwi carrier Spark wants to give up on copper entirely. Spark is what used to be the remnant of Telecom New Zealand after the incumbent was split at the start of the government's UFB (ultra-fast broadband) strategy, and it's not happy with the …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    When you consider the per-capita costs of the overland telegraph line…

    … back when it was first conceived… and adjust that for inflation to today's costs, the nonsense surrounding the NBN leaves me utterly speechless and disgusted at the myopic decision making that we call "government" today.

    It is good to know that NZ doesn't share this problem, and I wish their project well.

    1. Bubba Von Braun

      Re: When you consider the per-capita costs of the overland telegraph line…

      Sorry but NZ was running around touting their FTTN solution years ago.. nice to see reality bites copper in a lab doesn't match copper in the streets.

      Fortunately for our NZ cousins, they go t to realize just how rubbish the copper solution is..

      1. BlackKnight(markb)

        Re: When you consider the per-capita costs of the overland telegraph line…

        And the Australian Government had the benefit of hindsight and still pressed on with FTTN

        in the true aussie fashion of "she'll be right mate".

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: When you consider the per-capita costs of the overland telegraph line…

          > in the true aussie fashion of "she'll be right mate".

          Aussie and Kiwi.

          The difference is that since 1984 when NZ started systematically tearing down almost all of its protectionist trade barriers, people have learned (in no uncertain terms) that "she'll be right" seldom is - and that in the absence of a monopoly, companies live or die on the quality of their customer service.

  2. GrumpyKiwi

    Cannot into fibre

    Shakes head sadly. It would be good for me if you guys could sort it out. It'd make my life a lot easier.

    That said, just had NBN installed for a site in Canberra and it went remarkably smoothly. Took 9 months to organise, but it was smooth.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ahead of Australia on fibre tech

    Australia ranks somewhere below North Korea and the planet Jupiter on the bandwidth stakes.

    1. mathew42

      Re: Ahead of Australia on fibre tech

      Connecting 1TB fibre isn't going to help the situation if RSPs refuse to sell plans faster than 100Mbps and 82% of customers are choosing 25Mbps or slower.

      The question I keep pondering is why are Kiwis choosing faster speeds, but Australians are unwilling to spend the extra.

      1. Jon B

        Re: Ahead of Australia on fibre tech

        The wholesale price of 100/20 fibre is only a couple of dollars extra a month than the 30/10 basic offering - so the ISPs can market faster speed for pretty much the same price. The wholesale price only really jumps up by 20-30 dollars a month for the 200/200 plans or 1000/500 plans.

      2. mark 177

        Re: Ahead of Australia on fibre tech

        I'm already paying about $10 more for 25 mb/s NBN than I was paying for (approx. 16 mb/s) ADSL. And that's with only a fraction of my previous quota, and no PSTN-type phone, so I have no phone service in a blackout.

        So I was far from tempted to go 100 mb/s, especially as it is unlikely to provide much benefit to many websites due to congestion elsewhere in the Internet. This goes double for overseas sites, i.e. those I visit the most.

  4. TonyR

    The story is a bit misleading. The area covered by the street a day scheme is a small part of the North Island, which is the area served by UltraFast Fibre. In most of NZ Chorus is well advanced in rolling out fibre to the premises.

    And Spark is now a minority telco, there would be few streets in NZ where Spark has most of the retail customers, let alone all.

    Register, you have polished up a press release t#rd, shame on you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spark is using the agreement with UFF to show Chorus how it should be done. The number of complaints about Chorus deployments is astounding and the cost per connection via Chorus is far higher than for the other fibre companies.

      And I don't know I'd call Spark a "minority telco". It doesn't own the network but it's still by far the largest retail provider in New Zealand.

      One note, Richard, the CEO of Spark is Simon Moutter. Jason Paris is the CEO of Spark Retail - he looks after the customers.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Chorus of faults

        If you talk to a Chorus tech about fault calls on copper lines, you will discover that

        (a) the ISP that logs a fault doesn't pass on any information about the nature of the fault, however specific the end user was;

        (b) the tech is an independent contractor who gets a small fixed sum per fault logged as cleared.

        This explains the large number of faults logged on the copper system: the techs are paid per fault call logged as cleared, not per hour or per fault actuallycleared. They are incented to spend as little time as possible per call and log it as cleared ASAP. To actually get a fault fixed, the end user has to call it in repeatedly until an honest tech shows up. It is, as the saying goes in NZ, a rort.

    2. Knoydart

      Well a few facts (and I'm not spark fanboi)... Spark still have something like 43% of the broadband market in NZ and thats the largest RSP (retailer) of fixed line broadband in the country.

      Chorus (as one of the 4 fibre companies) are still installing their part of UFB and are on track to finish their part of the network and make streets "fibre ready". This should be by 2019 but the other fibre companies have completed their (very much smaller) builds already. So when an order comes in from a customer, there is still a bit more work to blow the fibre through the ducts and do the build on each property (be that residential or business). What Spark and UFF are doing is trying to do the final "customer build" part en mass for a street as UFF have completed their slice of the underlying UFB network around the Hamilton / Taraunga area.

      Chorus have 70% of the UFB build and a lot more complicated install issues like multi dwelling units and power pole sharing problems. UFF and Northpower (two of the 3 other fibre companies) are power companies so have used their own poles to help build UFB nice and quickly for their regions of NZ.

      The irony about this push from Spark is they want to migrate customers off copper (one Chorus asset that is being sweated rather nicely for the share holders) and either onto the UFB product (hello more Chorus / other fibre company income) or away from the rented infrastructure and onto their own 4G network and (I'm guessing here) even more revenue per user as no line charges for retailing the fibre product are incurred.

      I think its a good thing the en mass street install. If UFF were savy and Spark agreed, they would get all the other RSPs to do the same street, so the likes of Vodafone, 2degrees and Vocus would rock up as well with their customers and migrate the whole street in one go.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just don't get Australians

    Why do Australians insist on making proper home broadband a political issue?

    I moved to NZ (from London) in 2002 and while early on NZ internet was pretty bad (I went though the ADSL, ADSL+, VDSL chain over several years), since UFB (fibre) I have been massively impressed with NZ internet and my current UFB service (1000 down / 500 up) is fantastic - and that's from the South Island. We even got UFB service for 2 months in a rental when we had to move out for earthquake repairs.

  6. MartyvH

    "In Australia, nbnTM maintains that the Telstra copper it's taking on for FTTN is up to scratch all the way to gigabit services"

    Except that only delivers 1Gbps over less than 100 metres of copper. The FTTN lines are several hundreds of metres in Australia. With FTTN already built, there will need to be many more nodes (mini-nodes) going into many (not yet built) small pits. At what cost? How long will this take? We can envisage a similar cost and time to build to the current rollout.

    All to avoid FTTP, which is more than viable for most suburbs within cities and towns, as other countries are demonstrating on the ground right now. Where it's not viable in the boondocks, *then* there are several technologies to use.

    No, the current Government in Australia wants to leave all of the above for the buyer/s of NBN. Expect a sell-off before, which means will likely not go ahead with the global transition to full fibre underway.

  7. MartyvH

    "Why do Australians insist on making proper home broadband a political issue?"

    One party wants to throw the public an interim bone (FTTN, HFC) and then sell it all off, whereas the other wanted it to be FTTP and then sell it off. So I don't see the political difference.

    I saw the PM saying recently "Optus could upgrade its HFC for a modest cost". Apart from the fact that NBN clearly deemed it too expensive to upgrade the Optus HFC, meaning that the PM lied, he also revealed his party's real intentions: for private companies to build and operate the networks. The Labor party also has a stated agenda to sell it off. Bizarre.

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