What is UFB ?
UFB stands for Ultra Fast Broadband. This is the industry’s name for the governments’ solution which aims to deliver fibre connectivity to NZ homes and businesses.
UFB is therefore a fibre connection between the core telecommunications network and your premise. Because it is fibre-based (and the historic connection has been copper-based) a new physical fibre link is required.
UFB is also known as NGA on the Chorus network.
What do I get with UFB ?
UFB technology allows for greater data speeds than traditional (but not all) copper-based services. The benefit of greater data speeds is a much improved user experience when uploading or downloading information from the internet or other data sources.
In most cases a UFB connection will deliver both data and voice services to the premises, however some larger, legacy providers may require a separate copper service to deliver the voice services as they have not yet been able to develop a viable voice over fibre solution. These providers will therefore require both fibre and copper access to the sites to be able to offer the full customer requirements.
What is WXC’s position on UFB ?
UFB is great for the NZ in the long run and it will play a vital part in our future. WXC supports the governments’ initiative to make UFB available to the majority of NZ over the coming years.
As this programme is in its early stage of deployment, there are a number of unresolved issues that the industry is still grappling with. These issues include the practical and commercial implications of
- Connecting homes, multi-dwelling units and businesses to the newly deployed fibre access network,
- The consenting process
- The need for improvements to in-house wiring
- Restrictions and confusion over overhead deployment rules vs undergrounding.
- Issues relating to low speed modems like Sky TV decoders, security systems and medical alarms
Until these issues are sufficiently resolved WXC believe that the industry will struggle to provide a robust UFB solution in a hassle free manner and therefore ‘early adopters’ will potentially experience pain to gain the real benefits of the UFB solution.
WXC therefore recommend that consumers carefully consider the decision to take up UFB at this early stage, and only proceed if the inherent benefits of UFB are sufficient to justify the potential disruptions and issues.
Do WXC provide UFB solutions ?
Yes WXC do provide UFB solutions. In fact, WXC has been providing fibre connectivity to over 4000 customers in new subdivisions for the past 5 years over a UFB-style GPON architecture in conjunction with Chorus.
Because of the emerging nature of the core UFB solution and the inherent industry issues, WXC does not currently provide a UFB solution to the whole NZ market. WXC have chosen at this stage to restrict the deployment of our UFB solutions to our existing connected subdivisions and to new home builds where the required structured cabling is being deployed.
In this way we believe that we can eliminate some of the core issues, risks and indeed costs for the end customer. WXC does not wish to offer the wider market any product which we believe cannot be delivered in a hassle free, robust and commercially viable manner.
On occasion, we will offer UFB-style services to some legacy copper-based areas as the rollout progresses. Our Prequalification system will be updated to reflect these areas as and when they are enabled onto our network.
Can I get UFB from WXC ?
WXC currently offer UFB services in most of the main centres. If you are in an existing connected subdivisions, or you are in a new home (with structured cabling) served by the Chorus or Enable networks then it is possible that we can provide you with a UFB solutions. If you are in an area that is currently served by copper then a simple check by WXC can confirm the availability of our UFB product for you.
What is involved in getting UFB connected ?
There are a number of factors associated with delivery of UFB to your premise.
Obtaining Consent: If you are in a shared driveway or multi-dwelling unit, consent will be required from the other parties. If anyone objects to the process then work cannot be completed and our order will be cancelled. The consent process is managed by your service provider who will liaise with the network provider (such as Chorus) on your behalf to obtain the required approvals.
Connecting you to the Fibre Network. This requires fibre circuits to be installed between the network deployed in your street and your premise. In most cases this will be achieved by placing a new fibre circuit underground through your property. This could be achieved by digging a trench, using existing cable ducting or by drilling a new path to your house. Your service provider (eg WXC) will coordinate this work on your behalf. The cost of this install may be covered by the service provider as long as it meets the conditions set by the network provider ( eg Chorus). Your service provider can explain these conditions to you at the time of enquiry.
In-house wiring and equipment: Because your UFB service is delivered over fibre, new equipment and wiring will generally need to be installed in your premise. The new wiring is your responsibility as the owner of the premise and is generally completed by a registered electrician at your cost. The required equipment includes a new network termination device and potentially a new router which is UFB compatible. The termination equipment will be provided by the network provider through your service provider and your service provider will generally be able to provide you with a new fibre capable router. There may be an additional charge for the equipment required.
Are there options other than UFB which might satisfy my need?
You will most likely already be using a copper-based technology and therefore have experienced the performance of what will most likely be a DSL-based service.
DSL is currently the predominant copper-based access technology for residential and small business users in NZ. DSL provides basic data speeds which in many cases is sufficient for the average user.
Users with requirements for faster speeds may also consider VDSL prior to moving to fibre technology. VDSL is a copper-based technology and therefore can be delivered over most standard copper connections where the local exchange or cabinet supports VDSL. This is beneficial because it gives most of the speed advantages associated with fibre but without the issues and hassles associated with establishing a new fibre connection to your premise.
VDSL is a mature technology however market deployment of VDSL has been slow due to the fact that it is regarded by key industry players as a competing technology with UFB. Significant pressure is being applied by the service provider community to accelerate the general release of VDSL capability as a stepping stone to fibre.
In advocating this approach WXC and other service providers are suggesting that because VDSL is not subject to the many issues associated with fibre deployment, then the benefits of faster speeds can be attained initially with VDSL and then enhanced with UFB once the inherent teething issues and commercial viability of the UFB program rollout are resolved. As such VDSL is not available in all areas however a simple call to your service provider will enable you to establish whether this is available at your address.
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