Chorus last week announced it would soon be rolling out its 1Gbps high speed internet service across much of New Zealand. writer Nick Whigham casts a jealous eye at what is coming our way:

They've walloped us in the rugby for the 14th consecutive year, they've called us dicks and labelled us their "dodgy racist neighbour" and now they're preparing to blow our internet out of the water.

The Australian taxpayer funded company tasked with the monumental job of building our national broadband network is fond of saying that the final product will make us a world leader in broadband capability, but the Kiwis might have something to say about that.

On Friday last week New Zealand fixed-line telco company Chorus announced it will extend its 1Gbps fibre broadband service across the entirety of its Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) footprint beginning in October.

Chorus already has more than 4000 fibre connections in Dunedin capable of such speeds but will now offer the "maximum speed the network electronics allows today" to customers across the country, the company said.


Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe said by "championing gigabit residential and business services" New Zealand will be "catapulted up the league tables of broadband speed rankings".

The current average download speeds across the Chorus network is 30.5 megabits per second (Mbps) but the upgrade will allow users to achieve download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps.

Currently, the average download speed across Chorus' networks is 30.5 megabits per second (Mbps). Gigabit broadband offers real world download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps.

Chorus says speeds like this allow the equivalent of uploading 25 high resolution images to Facebook in under five seconds; downloading 25 MP3 songs in a second or streaming ultra-HD movies to 40 different devices simultaneously.

The Gigabit broadband service will run at the maximum speed the network electronics allows today. In practice this means customers will see download speeds of between 900Mbps and 970Mbps and upload speeds of up to 500Mbps.

Many Australians have signed up to its National Broadband Network (NBN) - the Australian national wholesale-only, open-access data network.

NBN currently receive download speeds within the range of 25Mbps to a possible maximum of 100 Mbps. Full fibre connections are expected to make up about 20 per cent of the completed NBN rollout meaning retailers will one day be able to offer 1 Gbps speeds to the lucky few.

The Chorus networl upgrade will allow users to achieve download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps. Photo / Chris Gorman
The Chorus networl upgrade will allow users to achieve download speeds approaching 1000Mbps and uploads of up to 500Mbps. Photo / Chris Gorman

NBN Co. is also working on future technologies in a bid to give the old copper fibre-like speeds, however it will be several years before such a possibility could benefit Australian internet users, and even then many technologists view it as a misguided desire to squeeze the remaining life from an outdated technology before it inevitably gets replaced.


While a growing number of smaller Australian service providers have moved into the market to offer 1Gbps speeds to Australians, they are quite limited in their footprint and are currently only available in specific areas.

Existing Chorus customers with a fibre connection who are keen to upgrade to the 1Gbps speeds will simply need to sign up for it, and won't need a technician to come to their home.

In the highly politicised debate around Australia's broadband network, many people have lamented the disproportionate focus that has been placed on download speeds, but nevertheless it remains an important and much lauded indicator of internet performance.

Obviously Chorus is servicing a much smaller population, and surface area, than Australia. The company's footprint covers most major towns and cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

Chorus has been building the NZ government's ultra fast broadband project which was 57 per cent complete at the end of last financial year, but unlike the NBN it does not have any sort of mandate to provide service to people in rural areas.

Instead it will reach 75 per cent of New Zealanders who mostly occupy "urban" areas, the government says. The rest will be covered by the government's already completed rural broadband initiative (RBI) which provides speeds of 50Mbps.

So by its expected completion date of 2019, at least three quarters of New Zealanders will have the chance to access to ultra fast broadband that is far superior to the internet used by a vast majority of those residing on the other side of the ditch.

While Chorus is still working out pricing details with the government, customers across the Tasman will likely pay an introductory price of $NZ60 per month until 30 June 2017 after which it will increase to $65 per month, while the business service will be priced at $NZ75 per month from launch.