Additional UFB areas announced

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by Claire Allison

Fairlie, Glenavy, Pareora and Winchester are the latest areas to be included in the extension of Chorus’ ultra-fast broadband (UFB) programme.

Chorus last week announced which households in South Canterbury would be included in the extension of the UFB programme.

In August, Chorus said it had reached an agreement with Crown Infrastructure Partners (formerly Crown Fibre Holdings) to extend its UFB rollout to about 60,000 more customers beyond the approximately 1.3 million customers in its existing planned UFB1 and 2 rollout areas.

An additional four areas were included in the programme, called UFB2+, in South Canterbury.

The areas are Fairlie, Glenavy, Pareora and Winchester.

“As with the original ultra-fast broadband programme, and the UFB2 extension announced in January this year, Chorus is the main player in this initiative and we’re very proud of the work we’re doing to bring New Zealand better broadband,” Ed Beattie, general manager network and field management, said.

“At this stage we are still working on the exact build schedule so have yet to confirm timings for UFB2+ but we will be back in touch with the respective communities to share these as soon we have them set.”

All up, Chorus is building the fibre network to more than 1.3 million homes, businesses, schools and medical centres across New Zealand.

The latest figures show that the first stage of the UFB build is 70% complete, with about 780,000 premises now able to connect to fibre.

Fibre uptake in Chorus areas across the country is currently at 39%, well ahead of the initial 2020 target of 20%, Mr Beattie said.

“The fibre network being built provides more reliable and faster broadband than ever before, with speeds of up to 1Gbps (1Gig) currently available on our network, but there is still more to come.”

Mr Beattie said Chorus was planning the next upgrade to the fibre network – a “whopping” 10Gbps connection.

“All of this, of course, opens a world of opportunity to transform New Zealand’s economy, our communities, and the way we connect to the rest of the world,” he said.

“On average, New Zealand households are each consuming about 162GB of data per month, a huge increase on the 13GB used back in 2011.

“Our view is that ever-increasing data demands and the evolution of new data-hungry devices and applications, such as 4K televisions and virtual reality, will only continue to fuel the demand for bandwidth.

“We’re forecasting average monthly data usage of 680GB per household by 2020 based on historical growth rates.”