Chorus says it has successfully trialled a wireless solution that could provide gigabit speeds without the need for fibre from the street into a customer's premise.

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The company says it is considering Nokia's WiPON solution for use where direct fibre deployment may not be feasible, for example in multiple dwelling units, rights of way, or business parks where there are consenting challenges.

WiPON uses a small access point on a nearby telephone pole or lamppost that is connected to the fibre running down the street, which connects to an external antenna on the customer's home.


A spokesman says the trial is expected to last a few months. A key element will be gauging how the technology performs in bad weather.

If the trial is successful, Chorus will talk to retail ISPs like Spark, Vodafone and Vocus (owner of Orcon and Slingshot) about commercially deploying the technology.

Multi-site dwellings and right-of-ways were a big challenge in the early days of the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout, with Chorus reporting wait times of up to 99 days in 2016. However, it recently said the average wait had been pegged back to seven working days amid tweaks to consent laws, and boosted install crew numbers (albeit with attendant controversy over conditions) - but it is still assessing cheaper and faster deployment methods.

Chorus' trials have shown speeds of around 1.6Gbps over 150m, with WiPON delivering a theoretical maximum of 3Gbps.

The trial will use unlicensed 60GHz spectrum, Chorus says. The external antenna will connect to a customer's router via ethernet cable.

Chorus recently began a 10Gbps fibre trial involving 30 households.