Ultra-Fast Broadband

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The Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative is a New Zealand Government program of building fibre-to-the-home networks covering 87% of the population by the end of 2022. It is a public–private partnership of the government with four companies with total government investment of NZ$1.5 billion.[1]


The Ultra-Fast Broadband project plans to provide speeds of at least 100Mbit/s downstream and 50Mbit/s upstream, though upgradable to 10 times that speed.

It aims to have optical fibre available to all schools and public hospitals, most private health facilities and most businesses by 2015. Urban and suburban residential areas have fibre deployed gradually, with new development areas being a high priority.

Initially, the plan was to have fibre within reach of 75% of the population by 2019 with an investment of $1.35 billion. In August 2017, the government announced the target was to be expanded to 87% of the population and to be completed by 2022.[2]

Partner companies

Crown Fibre Holdings Limited (CFH) is a Crown-owned company set up to manage the project. CFH has contracted four companies to deploy fibre network.[3]

The main partner is Chorus, which won 69% of the roll out area.[1] Chorus was part of incumbent telco Spark but was split off into a separate company in order to participate in this project. CFH will invest NZ$929 million directly in Chorus with 50% being non-voting shares and 50% interest free loans.[4]

There are also three Local Fibre Companies (LFC). These are 50% owned by Crown Fibre and 50% by the local electricity lines company or local government. They are:

The government aims to collect all the investment back in 2036. Due to the loan being interest free, the government expect this to cost $600m in opportunity cost.[6]


The technology used is gigabit-capable passive optical network (GPON) for residential customers, and point to point for large businesses. Dark fibre is also available.

Chorus or the LFCs wholesale services to ISPs, who in turn offer services to their customers. There are 89 retail providers offering UFB services.[7]

The original contract between CFH and the fibre network companies specifies that there are to be wholesale residential plans of 30Mbit/s download with 10Mbit/s upload and 100Mbit/s download with 50Mbit/s upload.

The fibre network companies also offer other residential and business plans. A gigabit residential service of up to 1Gbit/s download and 500Mbit/s upload and Business gigabit services (with higher CIR (committed information rates) are available in all UFB areas.

As of June 2018, unlimited residential UFB plans start from NZ$69.00 for 30Mbps download / 10 Mbps upload (50/10 at same cost in Chorus areas[8]) NZ$72.00 for 100Mbps download / 20 Mbps upload (200/20 at same cost in Enable areas starting 1 July 2018[9] ) and NZ$99.99 for 1000Mbps download / 500 Mbps upload.[10]

Chorus reports that 76% of mass market fibre plans now sold are 100Mbps or faster and the average monthly data use by a fibre customer is 250GB.[11]

Customers must arrange the final connection to the UFB network with their ISP, who in turn arranges connection with the relevant fibre network company. The fibre network company then installs the fibre lead-in from the street to the customer's premises, the external termination point (ETP) and the optical network terminal (ONT). If the fibre lead-in needs to travel along shared rights of way or through cross-lease land, all affected neighbours must consent to the installation. The standard ONT provides four gigabit Ethernet ports and two ATA phone ports. It is also possible to have ONTs that provide WiFi, or radio over fiber.

For each area an ISP wishes to serve, it needs to put in a handover point and organize a backhaul link back to its core network. (There are 33 points of interconnect (POIs), one for each UFB candidate area.) Therefore, only a few ISPs offer nationwide UFB services, and the majority only focus in a few areas. This is different to DSL, where Chorus can deliver all of an ISP's customers nationwide to a single handover point, so ISPs can easily offer nationwide DSL service.[12]


The initial UFB project consists of 33 areas covering 75% of the population to be complete by end of 2019.

UFB2 (January 2017) would provide fibre to more than 151 new towns bringing coverage up to 85% of the population to be complete by end of 2024.

UFB2+ (August 2017) would provide fibre to more than 190 new towns bringing coverage up to 87% of the population with the UFB2/2+ project now to be fully rolled out by end of 2022.

The complete list of all UFB locations is available on the Crown Infrastructure Partners website.

As of June 2018, the original UFB project is 89% complete, with fibre available to 1,373,467 households and businesses, of which 605,345 have connected.[13]

UFB 1 area Provider Premises able
to connect[13]
Whangarei Northpower 23,012 50.3% 8 May 2014[15]
Auckland Chorus 442,081 47.5% 2019
Waiheke Island Chorus 5,691 39.6% 2017
Pukekohe Chorus 8,271 45.1% 2018
Waiuku Chorus 3,645 54.1% 19 May 2016[16]
Hamilton UFF 67,016 52.3% 7 April 2016[17]
Cambridge UFF 8,670 49.9% 13 February 2015[18]
Te Awamutu UFF 5,917 46.5% 3 October 2014[19]
Tauranga UFF 60,975 53.2% 11 March 2016[20]
Rotorua Chorus 26,710 47.6% 17 June 2016[21]
Tokoroa UFF 5,473 42.3% 13 February 2015[18]
Taupo Chorus 13,503 39.7% 15 May 2015[22]
Whakatane Chorus 7,141 40.7% 23 September 2016[23]
Gisborne Chorus 14,797 28.8% 2018
Napier-Hastings Chorus 41,960 38.9% 2019
New Plymouth UFF 26,774 49.7% 19 February 2016[24]
Hawera UFF 4,943 46.7% 13 February 2015[18]
Whanganui UFF 20,851 37.6% 18 April 2015[25]
Palmerston North Chorus 32,240 42.2% 2019
Feilding Chorus 6,617 38.3% 2018
Levin Chorus 8,507 40.1% 2017
Masterton Chorus 9,608 44.5% 3 December 2015[26]
Kapiti Chorus 14,893 22.8% 2019
Wellington Chorus 147,144 34.4% 2019
Nelson Chorus 26,413 52.3% 2017
Blenheim Chorus 13,145 50.0% 20 March 2015[27]
Greymouth Chorus 4,337 43.3% 26 November 2015[28]
Christchurch metro [nb 1] Enable 197,700 39.0% 30 May 2018[9]
Ashburton Chorus 9,216 44.1% 13 March 2015[29]
Timaru Chorus 14,613 48.3% 30 April 2015[30]
Oamaru Chorus 6,747 41.7% 15 December 2014[31]
Dunedin Chorus 53,291 51.3% 22 June 2018[32]
Queenstown Chorus 7,989 45.2% 29 July 2016 [33]
Invercargill Chorus 24,916 41.5% 2018


The UFB project started as part of the National Party's 2008 election promise of an Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative.[34][35]

Initially, the Ultra-Fast Broadband network would not be subject to the regulations placed on other telecommunications companies by the Commerce Commission until 2020. After protests by telecommunications companies, consumer groups and opposition parties,[36] the government allowed Crown Fibre Holdings to be regulated by the Commerce Commission.[37] However, the government agreed to pay compensation to the partner companies if they lose money as a result of Commerce Commission regulation.[38]

In 2015, the Government released a discussion document which sought views on how prices for UFB services should be set after 2019.[39] The discussion paper ultimately resulted in the Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill, which was passed in late 2018.[40]


  1. ^ a b "About". Crown Infrastructure Partners.
  2. ^ "Ultra Fast Broadband Extension (UFB2)". Crown Infrastructure. 30 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Crown Partners". Crown Fibre Holdings. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  4. ^ Fletcher, Hamish (25 May 2011). "Green light for two Telecoms". New Zealand Herald.
  5. ^ Harvie, Will (2 July 2016). "The underground anchor project". The Press. pp. C1–C2. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  6. ^ Pullar-Strecker, Tom (24 May 2011). "$600 million UFB's 'true cost'". The Dominion Post. Stuff. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Deployment progress". Ministry of Economic Development. 15 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Increasing entry level residential plans to 50Mbps - Chorus Service Provider". sp.chorus.co.nz.
  9. ^ a b "Enable doubles fibre broadband speeds celebrating completion of network across greater Christchurch - Enable". www.enable.net.nz.
  10. ^ "Compare Fibre Broadband Plans in New Zealand". www.glimp.co.nz.
  11. ^ "Reports - Corporate Website". company.chorus.co.nz.
  12. ^ Ritchie, Brendan (11 December 2012). "Why No Aggregated National Port Option From UFB/NBN?". DTS Limited. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "Broadband Deployment Update - June 2018" (PDF). MBIE.
  14. ^ CFH Statement of Intent July 2014 – June 2018 (PDF). June 2014. p. 14. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  15. ^ Dinsdale, Mike (9 May 2014). "Speeding ahead as first ultra-fast city". Northern Advocate. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  16. ^ Barker, Sara (19 May 2016). "Waiuku 17th New Zealand town to get ultra fast broadband". IT Brief NZ. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  17. ^ Adams, Amy (7 April 2016). "Faster broadband for Hamilton". Beehive.govt.nz. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  18. ^ a b c "Ultrafast Fibre connects three more towns". Crown Fibre. 13 Feb 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Te Awamutu high-speed broadband rollout completed". Ultrafast Fibre Ltd. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  20. ^ Adams, Amy. "Tauranga fully-fibred and raring to go". beehive.govt.nz. NZ Government. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  21. ^ Porter, David (17 June 2016). "Rotorua's broadband rollout complete". Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Taupo's ultra fast network complete". Rotorua Daily Post. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  23. ^ "UFB build completed in Whakatane". Chorus. 23 Sep 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  24. ^ Adams, Amy (19 February 2016). "New Plymouth fully connected to Ultra-Fast Broadband". beehive.govt.nz. NZ Government. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  25. ^ Wilson, Zaryd (20 April 2015). "Fibre to boost network speed". Wanganui Chronicle. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  26. ^ Fuller, Piers (3 December 2015). "Amy Adams announces full UFB fibre rollout for Masterton". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  27. ^ Hill, Helen (20 March 2015). "Blenheim homes all able to access UFB". The Marlborough Express. Stuff. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  28. ^ Adams, Amy (26 November 2015). "Greymouth joins ranks of fully-fibred towns" (Press release). New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  29. ^ "Chorus completes UFB rollout in Ashburton". Crown Fibre. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  30. ^ Malone, Audrey (30 April 2015). "Ultra fast broadband rollout in Timaru complete". The Timaru Herald. Stuff. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  31. ^ Bruce, David (16 Dec 2015). "Urged to take up benefits of UFB". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  32. ^ "Chorus completes fibre build in Dunedin, South Island UFB1 complete". www.voxy.co.nz.
  33. ^ Adams, Amy (29 Jul 2016). "Queenstown UFB rollout now complete" (Press release). New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  34. ^ "Crown Fibre Holdings". MED. 9 September 2010.
  35. ^ Joyce, Steven (29 October 2009). "Crown Fibre Holdings Board appointments" (Press release). New Zealand Government.
  36. ^ "Eleven telcos, consumer groups unite against Crown Fibre bill". National Business Review. 11 April 2011.
  37. ^ Joyce, Steven (18 May 2011). "Regulatory forbearance to be replaced" (Press release). New Zealand Government.
  38. ^ Bennett, Adam (18 May 2011). "Joyce scraps regulatory holiday from broadband bill". New Zealand Herald.
  39. ^ "Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001". Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  40. ^ "Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill - New Zealand Parliament". Retrieved 2018-11-13.

External links

  • Crown Fibre Holdings
  • Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Builders of the UFB network

  • Chorus
  • Northpower Fibre
  • Ultrafast Fibre
  • Enable
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