New Zealand's oldest phone and internet infrastructure is slowly being retired as Chorus continues to modernise and future proof the broadband network.
The copper network which has served Kiwis well for their landline and more recently, internet needs, for over a century is now beginning to become redundant.
As the hyperfast and reliable fibre broadband reaches 87 percent of Kiwi homes and businesses, the time has come to start switching off small sections of the old network which
we are no longer dependent on.
"In the coming months and years ahead, we plan to start retiring the copper network and we're in the early phase of that. At the moment it's going to be very, very few people. Less than one percent of homes and businesses that use copper today," says Chorus spokesperson Steve Pettigrew.
The changeover will only affect a few hundred homes and businesses during this trial, and they will have six months to prepare and assess their options.
Steve says if anyone is hearing anything different from their own ISP, not to worry. Chorus will be contacting those affected directly by sending them an information pack in the mail.
"If you don't hear from Chorus, there's nothing you need to do. And that means nobody should be put under any pressure to move away from their copper services."
Copper will be retired only in places which already have fibre available so no customers will be stranded without connectivity. The good news for those customers affected is they will already have access to the fastest, most reliable broadband.
The actual process of retiring requires no disruptive work and is environmentally friendly, essentially requiring the flick of a switch to power down the relevant section of the copper network.
In places that don't have fibre available, Chorus will continue to maintain and support the copper network where it's needed to provide reliable phone and broadband. This means customers will be able to access services like VDSL, which carry much of the same benefits of the fibre network, such as 4K video streaming, the rapid upload/download of large files, all running through a congestion free network.
For those Kiwis who will need to make a change from copper, Steve recommends fibre broadband as the fastest and most reliable option available. But don't just take his word for it.
"The Commerce Commission undertakes independent reporting around all the broadband technologies available in New Zealand and each time fibre takes top spot on the podium," says Steve.
With more Kiwis working and playing from home than ever, a fast and reliable internet connection has never been more essential. With fibre plans generally costing a similar amount to alternates, making the move is a great way to ensure you have the best internet available in your home.
But moving to fibre isn't the only option and customers aren't under any pressure to shift to a technology that doesn't suit their needs.
Wireless, or 'fixed wireless', is a type of internet connection which uses on the mobile data network in the same way your phone does, instead of via copper or fibre lines to your property.
While convenient, it does come with some downsides. Fixed wireless connection speed is affected by how many users are on the local network at the same time. The Commerce Commission reporting noted during the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, average download speeds dropped by 25 percent because of increased congestion.
If you're in a household looking to stream in 4K content or do online gaming, this probably isn't the best option for you.
This article was created for Chorus