Some Far North towns will have to wait until 2022 before they get ultra-fast broadband.
Telecommunications company Chorus has released dates for when work will start in the Far North towns included in the extension of the ultra-fast broadband programme (UFB).
In August, Chorus 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 planned UFB1 and two rollout areas.
An additional 28 areas are now included in the programme in Northland, including 19 in the Far North.
"As with the original ultra-fast broadband programme, 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," said communications manager Nathan Beaumont.
He said the UFB programme is a huge piece of work, which is why it would take until 2022 to connect some far North towns.
"We started in 2011 and it's not due to finish until the end of 2022. The programme covers more than 350 towns and cities right across New Zealand, so as you can appreciate a work programme of this magnitude takes time," Beaumont said.
"When there are more than 350 towns to rollout UFB to, scheduling the work is very complex.
"There are a number of factors that come into consideration when determining the work schedule for towns and cities, including availability of contractors in each of the areas and ensuring the scheduling runs in a functional way to ensure the programme is efficient."
He said while Far North folk were waiting for fibre, Chorus still had a very good copper network, which has fast broadband available in a large number of places via VDSL.
People could go to askforbetter.co.nz to see whether they could get VDSL.
"Following work with the Government, Crown Infrastructure Partners and our build service companies, we have been able to bring the programme completion forward by two years from 2024 to 2022.
"This is great news for the Northland towns included in the programme, as it means a number of places will get fibre much faster than previously thought," Beaumont said.
Chorus was building the fibre network to more than 1.3 million homes, businesses, schools and medical centres across New Zealand.
The first stage of the UFB build was 70 per cent complete, with about 800,000 premises able to connect to fibre.
Fibre uptake in Chorus areas across the country was at 42 per cent, well ahead of the initial 2020 target of 20 per cent.
"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.
"Right now at Chorus we're hard at work 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."
Beaumont said, on average, New Zealand households were each consuming about 184GB 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.
"The big growth drivers for data use are video and smart devices. People's viewing habits have shifted online. It's now very mainstream to watch television shows and movies via an app on a smart television or tablet.
"Many of the most popular television shows are online. But it's not just international providers like Netflix who are offering content online.
"Domestic broadcasters TVNZ and Three both launched live streaming services in 2017. And now thanks to the extension to the UFB programme, more households in Northland will be able to take advantage of fibre broadband."