COMMENT

Chorus says it will trial super-fast broadband for 30 lucky households from mid-March.

Triallists in the Auckland suburbs of Birkenhead and Avondale, and Johnsonville in Wellington, will get a fibre broadband connection with 10 gigabit per second bandwidth.

To put that in perspective, that's 10 times faster than the fastest Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) connections today, and 1000 times the bandwidth of a copper dial-up connection.

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When Chorus launched its 1 gigabit per second (or 1000 megabit per second) plan in 2016, I guestioned whether any household needed that sort of bandwidth.

I pointed out that these days you can have several members of a household streaming high-def Netflix on different devices, while someone else games online and another does some cloud computing. Intensive, sure, but still able to be accommodated within a 200mbit/s connection (the fastest available in 2016), I argued.

And then there's the factor that any internet connection is only as strong as its weakest link, and for almost any purpose, they'll be a link in the chain way slower than 1gbit/s.

Still, Chorus says today there are 44,000 customers on its 1gibit/s connection service. And I have to admit, I'm one of them.

Chorus argues that Netflix and other services like to burst large amounts of data at times, to get ahead, causing spikes in usage that are best accommodated by a 1gbit/s connection.

But, mainly, like a bunch of other geeks, I just had to have the best broadband connection available.

Chorus' 10gbps service is built in collaboration with Nokia using its XGS-PON fibre solution. That means 10gbps in both directions - and the bandwidth could be shared among a neighbourhood. Though for the trial at least, Chorus is pitching it as10gpbs per household.

Chorus is probably also mindful that Spark and other mobile network operators are starting to tout mobile network upgrades from 4G to 5G, which promises bandwidth similar to what most people get from fibre today. The 10gbps trial is a reminder that fibre will always be ahead in the bandwidth arms race.

Chorus has yet to select the 30 households for its 10gbps trial, which will begin mid-March.

To be eligible, you have to live in Birkenhead, Avondale or Johnsonville, and already be on a 1gbps connection.

Your ISP also has to be one of five participating providers.

The list could expand, but it currently consists of 2degrees, Vocus (owner of Orcon, Slingshot and 2Talk), Kordia, TrustPower and Stuff Fibre.

People who want to participate should contact their ISP, Chorus says.

Chorus says the average household's data usage is growing exponentially. Today, many fibre households watch Netflix at 4K or ultra high definition quality, chewing through the gigs. But it will only be a couple of years before we see content makers adopting 8K.