Connecting the nation – how we get fibre from the street to NZ homes

We connect around 3,000 homes and businesses to our fibre network every week. We’ve been installing fibre since 2011 and while we haven’t always gotten it right first time, along the way we’ve learnt a lot about this once-in-a-generation technology upgrade. Fast forward to 2017 and we’ve established a number of different and effective ways to get fibre from our network in the street to homes across the country.

When you order fibre, a Chorus technician will come to your home to discuss the work required and agree on an installation plan with you. Every property is unique so we provide the best option for your property, and we won’t start work until you’ve signed our installation agreement form.

To connect your property to fibre broadband we need to run the fibre cable from the street and connect it to the external termination point (ETP), a small plastic box that we attach to the outside of your property.

We continuously look for ways to improve the process and minimise the impact – in 2013 we introduced the surface mounting method for the fibre cable and last year we made the ETP smaller to make it more discrete.

Here are the different ways we bring fibre from the street to your property:

Aerial cable
If your existing copper phone and broadband services are delivered via an aerial cable, we’ll install our fibre cable the same way. If your property has an aerial cable for power, then we may be able to install our fibre cable alongside the power cable.

Underground pipe
If your existing copper phone and broadband services are connected via an existing underground pipe to your property and it’s usable, we’ll dig at each end of the pipe and pull our fibre cable through.

Surface mounted
If there’s a suitable surface like a driveway edge, footpath, curbing, retaining wall or structurally sound fence from your street to your property, we can mount our fibre cable to that surface. This minimises the digging needed for your install. Where possible, we hide the cable by mounting it at the base of the fence or under the fence rail.

Buried cable in a grass verge or garden
If the route from your street to your property is a soft surface like grass, dirt or garden, we can bury our fibre cable. We dig a shallow trench by hand with a spade or saw and lay our fibre cable in the trench. The trench doesn’t need to be in a straight line and can curve around trees and paths. We choose a location away from high impact areas where it’s unlikely to be dug up. We restore any surface we’ve disturbed with the same material and include grass seed in grassy areas. We try to keep the turf and replace it after we’ve finished.

Buried cable under a driveway or path
If there’s a hard surface like concrete from your street to your property then we can use machinery to drill or dig a trench and bury our fibre cable.

  • Drilling – we drill under the hard surface to create a trench to pull our fibre cable through. We limit digging to a temporary hole at each end of where we want to install our fibre cable.
  • Trenching – we have a couple of different trenching methods using machinery to either make a wide cut (200-300mm) right through the hard surface or a narrow cut (10mm) in the top of the hard surface to lay the fibre cable. We aim for the most direct route and take into account other utilities and ground features.

The drilling and trenching options depend on your location, condition and type of hard surface and where other underground utilities on your property are located. For wide cut trenches we restore ‘like for like’ i.e. concrete for concrete, but it’s difficult to match colouring, texture and the pattern of concrete and asphalt.

When fibre is connected to the ETP, more work needs to be done on the inside of your house before we can complete the installation process.  Check out our blog to find out what we need to do inside your home so you can enjoy the benefits of fibre broadband.

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