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With rollout a quarter complete, the number within reach of UFB fibre who choose to connect nudges up to 5.49%

The latest numbers released by ICT Minister Amy Adams, for the December quarter, show Chorus [NZX: CNU] and other UFB contract holders have now rolled fibre past 363,109 potential customers - an increase of 40,630 over the September quarter.

Of those, 19,915 or 5.49% have signed up for a UFB account with a retail ISP. During the quarter, 5667 new UFB customers signed up.

In the September quarter, around 4% of those within reach of UFB fibre had chosen to connect.

The UFB rollout, backed by $1.35 billion in taxpayer funds, is now more than a quarter complete. It is due to finish in 2019 and cover 75% of the population.

Opponents say customer uptake is too slow. Labour's Trevor Mallard called today's connection numbers "hopeless". But Ms Adams say they are in line with expectations at this stage of the project.

The rollout remained on track durinig the December quarter, despite off-stage dramas that included the independent EY Australia into Chorus that recommended the company borrow more, make spending cuts and slash its dividend; the Commerce Commission confirming the regulated wholesale price Chorus' copper lines would be slashed from December; and Chorus filing a High Court appeal against the regulator's decision. Chorus remains in talks with Crown Fibre Holdings over ways to cut UFB rollout costs.

Just before the December quarter kicked off, Vodafone (which holds around 29% of the market), finally launched its UFB plans. Vodafone is the only retail competitor of any scale against Telecom, which holds 49% share. Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe told NBR he expected Vodafone's entry to accelerate adoption as the "two giants" went head-to-head.

Chorus has put faster and cheaper UFB plans on the table, which should also help accelerate uptake. But the question of "killer app" content is stalled, with the Commerce Commission finding Sky TV's content deals harmed competition and hindered new market entrants from gaining a critical mass of content, but not doing anything about it.

In the parallel, five-year, $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), more than 179,000 rural homes and businesses now have access to fast wireless broadband, and over 60,000 rural homes and businesses have access to improved copper broadband services, Ms Adams says.

As with previous quarterly reports, the government has not said how many within reach of RBI broadband connections have chosen to sign up to a plan.

More than 2000 schools now have fibre installed and ready for service.

Comments and questions
14

I live in the heart of Takapuna and moved to a new premises as the previous one I was at had a body corp that didn't understand the consent documents so didn't do anything therefore consent was never granted to put the fibre down the existing trunking in the shared driveway.

I contacted Chorus direct to make sure the fibre was under way at the new premises I was moving to before I signed the lease and I got an affirmative answer that it was in and ready to be installed to the house.

A date was set in December 2013 for installation, people lined up to be onsite. Ask me how my fibre connection is running, I dare you!
Its February now and I've taken up the role of chief bullshyte listener while I'm being fed many excuses as to why I'm still not connected.

Telecom Business Critical National Emergency Sub Nuclear Support advised me they have two people on a roster that deal with the connection issues for the entire country. Yes 2. I even asked the operator to repeat it several times. They (Telecom) contact their contractor (Chorus) who then contacts their contractor (Visionstream) and it takes one week between replies.

Although Telecom states they will get a response from Chorus within four hours, the two people handling the support are working their way through a list and only deal with your issue / ticket once per week.

The technician that came to install the "temporary" ADSL connection which gets around 5.5MB download speed showed me the Fibre cable outside my gate not less than 30cm from my garage which is attached to the house... This was 6 weeks ago. I can see it, I can touch it, I can smell it and I want to pay for it. Sure I'll even pay extra to have it installed, I'm not looking for any freebies, I want to use it therefore I should pay for it - no problems there.

The last email I received from Telecom which included the words "Great News". Step one has been completed by our contractors and they are up to Step 2 ... but ... they couldn't give an estimated time of install as their contractor was waiting on parts to arrive !!! I'm only guessing that when someone wants Fibre installed the contractor has to order parts from another country and they only bring in one at a time which would explain the nearly 3 month timeline to NOT get fibre installed.

I run a small but busy IT company and we've got by on ADSL, especially after having 5 years of broken promises of a wonderful new product called VDSL - ah the elusive VDSL.

I received all the wonderful marketing babble about how business would change when Fibre was installed and how the process can be sometimes held up waiting for consent to dig up the driveways. I understand, I'll even do my bit, make some calls, chat up the neighbours, bake some scones, smear a little jam and cream around ... but when you physically move to another premises on the intel from the main contractor of the FSB rollout that Fibre is installed to the gate and just needs to be installed in the house, you start to wonder what the DotCom is going on.

Admittedly I was told by the Telecom support guru that unfortunately "one hand doesn't know what the other is doing" and that Chorus are blaming Telecom, Telecom blaming Chorus, Sub Contractors blaming Len Brown, Len Brown blaming Ms Adams, Telecom blaming .... [insert expletives here] ....

Personally I want a refund for the Taxpayer ... sure we need Fibre, many great nutritionists have told us time and time again we need to have Fibre in our diets but the companies tasked with doing the job at the end of the day are in dire need of a dietician! Oversight, accountability, checks, balances, .... a phone call at least from someone in the Capitol? ....

I'll admit I'm a National voter, for now at least, and some might say I only have myself to blame for the mess I'm in, fair comment, but for now, political jeering aside, I just want to know why? Sure it's a big job but surely someone looked at the contractors business plan, their quality controls their school cert certificate?

I'm in New Zealands largest city, (I'm an import from the South Island by the way) I'm not in any fringe area, I have fibre cables near me , driveway re-patched, I've seen and touched the cable ... but the main contractor is "waiting on parts" !

While some may disagree, I am patient. I understand this is a BIG job. What I find hard to understand is the "great news" that everything is on track and cable is running past x number of people and x percent have signed up for the service. What I'd like to know is how many people are actually getting connected without having to spend numerous hours (no exaggeration) on checking up on Telcos and their contractors.

I now have a bowl of all bran located outside my house so when passers by and visitors ask me what it is I simple say... that's my Fibre!

If you too are having issues with getting Fibre tell me your story so I know I'm not alone.

That's quite a story. I had my front yard dug up so my neighbours could get fibre down the right of way and the contractor's thruster got stuck under my driveway and then it took nearly 2 months to get them back to finish the work and reinstate my front yard. Saying that my fibre install was seamless and only took an hour and a half and was the fastest known install at the time... So I got both sides of it!

I'm not having trouble with Fibre, except for the fact that it's not rolled out where I am, but I am having trouble getting connected.

I moved in to a 2 unit place in Wellington at the beginning of Feb. Despite the fact that both units have cable installed (so they basically just need to flick the switch), and so both units have booked plans with Vodafone, they say that they cannot connect us both up at the same time. Downer claim they're quite willing to do the job in one go, but can't unless Vodafone put it into a single order, which Vodafone claims is impossible. You'd think Vodafone would be falling over themselves to save sending out the contractors twice. So much for business efficiency.

Hi, Sounds like you have had a pretty poor experience, if you can please email our Online Response Team email address "ort at telecom.co.nz" we can follow up and find out what went wrong, Cheers Peter

Hi Peter

Awesome but I do have one question. If I email them will they also tell me to call the Business Complex Support on their 0800 number because they're the only ones that can help me.... only because I have spoken to them and it's been a while since my last date with them. Even my girlfriend thinks I'm chatting up the operator because I talk to them more than her of late.

Besides, my point is not about the service I am receiving from Telecom (not solely) it is about the general happy tone of the successful UFB roll out articles that pop up slowly on my screen. I really think that someone ought to have a little squizz into this and get Telecom, Vodafone, Orcon - DotCom, Chorus, Visionstream and a few bone crunching thugs around a table to have a chat about how the success of the delivery of this service will improve a lot things in this great country of ours... or at least agree that something needs to be done.

I thought about ringing Complex support today but I really really don't want to hear the same thing again.

I have called another provider and they have told me 10 days to install which is what I have heard before - I'm a little wiser these days of course but the classic response from Telecom the first time I got upset about the delay saying I was going to change providers was "There's no point - we all have to deal with Chorus" ... wow! Fantastic. There's no point fighting for freedom - it's just too hard ...

Have a Happy All Bran Valentines Day people

The offer still stands if you wanted to contact us and see what can be done. I've just checked our inbox and haven't seen anything in there. Cheers Peter

Just to sum up without any clever words or stories.

I emailed ORT at telecom.co.nz on Friday 14th Feb.
I have not had an acknowledgement of my email.
I have not had any contact from ORT at telecom.co.nz
I have called Business Complex Care and they told me the same as last week. They spoke to Chorus on Monday to request and update and they (Chorus) have requested an update from their contractor.

I call last week and got the exact same story and gave them a week before calling back to hear the response from last week only to find they have called on Monday 17th to ask the Contractor

So back to my main point on this topic.

As I just told the poor operator at Complex Care, they are in the front line but someone up the ladder needs to grow a pair and start asking some tough questions. How does one make a formal complaint about this process ...

This will be my last comment on the matter.

Thanks to "Peter" from ORT for filling cyberspace with more empty PR babble.

Next time someone has something to complain about don't bother offering to look into it if you or your team cannot even bother to acknowledge receipt of an email.

Dearest Peter

I woke up this morning feeling ok, thinking I've got everything lined up for a wonderful valentines day. I thought I'd surprise my beloved with a call this afternoon.

I had mixed emotions, shivers and after all that All Bran I was a little nervous to leave my comfort zone.

I made the plunge. ... I called .... the phone answered and I heard those beautiful words ...

"Welcome to Telecom Business Complex Care you speaking with Cupid "

[Names have been replaced to protect the persons innocence]

Cupid and I went through the usual pleasantries and then exchanged some exotic lingual banter ... "My ticket number is .... 55378008 "

Cupid was in awe that my ticket had been escalated to his "boss", the Manager, Aphrodite ... alas with it being the 14th of February I was not going to be getting that sort of shunt up the proverbial ladder today.

Aphrodite, as I was told, has been away for a few days so there would be a delay in a response ... 10 days already + weekend ..... ah well what;s another few days between dates - it is a "complex" life ....

Cupid and I had some pillow talk for a while and he whispered that the Gods that are causing the delay are waiting on a FAT. What's a FAT? Now now, after a not so quick Google search ... I found that FAT in relation to a fibre connection could be ... a Fibre Access Terminal so we'll roll with that for now...

Cool, so I offer Cupid some cash to give to the Gods so they might get their FAT a little sooner and Cupid giggled bashfully....

I bade Cupid goodnight and went off to my Thunderbird to send you [Peter] a message through your ORT email.

Let's nudge her up to 5.491% ... :)

I hope this finds you well,
I hope that you can tell,
I'm looking for hero
To ring the battle bell.

So.... we have UFB that runs through the main street of our town of 6000+ so it can supply other towns further down the line that now have UFB, but no-one in this town is able to get UFB, even though it runs right past the door to other towns. I WANT UFB NOW

You won't have "UFB" running through your town to get to another town.

One possibility is that it is transport fibre connecting a rural node to a UFB area but in that case asking for connection would be like asking for electricity because you are below one of the big 110kv steel towers.

Or it might be business fibre which has nothing to do with UFB, or even someone else's fibre.

It's certainly a flawed system.

I got fibre at my house without a single hitch but I know of businesses that are told by Chorus that they're waiting for consent from the building owners, even though they themselves own the building and have never been contacted.

I understand that we need the consents process so as to not step on anyones toes but it's simply taking too long to work through it all. I can completely sympathise with Frustrated Firbe Fool as I feel that all they're getting is smoke and mirrors as no doubt the hold up is more likely paper related than gear related.

I live in the CBD in Auckland, and fibre was laid 12 months ago down my street. But apartment blocks need entire building done, not just 1 off tennants. I expect to get my fibre connection in 2024 at this rate.

That's why I did some research and opted for a dwelling on the ground (I used to be up high) but sometimes we just have to make sacrifices. Looking back, did it help? Nadda. Onwards and down ... 2024 isn't that far away. Have you thought about dropping a cable out the window? Might be faster... :) Happy All Bran!