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Understand Fibre

Understand what Fibre broadband is, how it might get installed, what speeds you could get and what happens in a power cut. If you want to order Fibre, check out the Set up Fibre guide.

  • Fibre is a fast way to connect your broadband and phone line. It carries information through lightweight Fibre optic cables. It’s the global standard for broadband.
  • The New Zealand government is rolling out Fibre optic cables around the country. By 2022, 87% of New Zealanders will be able to access Fibre.
  • Local Fibre Companies install Fibre in New Zealand. These are Chorus, North Power, Ultra-Fast Fibre, Enable and Unison.
  • Order Spark Fibre by putting your address into the Address Checker. You can view the current plans here too. Order Fibre
  • To connect to Fibre, a new fibre optic cable needs to get installed between your place and the street.
  • The technician will discuss options with you in their first visit. After build work is complete, they'll come back for an installation appointment.
  • There is no concrete timeframe to get Fibre. There are many factors that impact how long it will take for each customer. Some installations will be done in weeks while some can take a few months.
  • To get Fibre installed, go to Set up Fibre

1. Whether to keep your copper line

  • You can run your broadband and home phone over Fibre so you don’t need to keep a copper line
  • If you have a medical alarm or security system running on your landline, you'll need to contact the manufacturer to check if it will work over Fibre
  • Phones that run on Fibre won't work if there is a power outage

2. Where cables will go

  • Your new Fibre cable will be run from the Fibre access point in your street to the side of your house or garage
  • It could be an aerial cable, an underground pipe, surface cabling or another option. Your technician will talk you through this at the first visit

3. Whether you need integrated wiring

  • Integrated wiring is when your new Fibre cable connects to your existing phone jackpoints. This means you can keep using them.
  • If you have phones, alarms or security systems that rely on your home phone line, this could be an option for you. Let us know if you want integrated wiring when you order. That way you won't pay an extra cost later.

4. Which Fibre plan to choose

  • Fibre has different speeds. The higher the number, the higher the speed.
  • There are currently five different Fibre speeds:
    • FibreBasic
    • Fibre 100
    • Fibre 200
    • FibreMAX (up to 1,000Mbps)*
    • Gigatown up to 1,000Mbps and available to Dunedin customers
  • You can see the speeds offered at your address by using the address checker when you buy Fibre. Fibre plans
  • You also need to decide if you want to keep a phone line. If you do, it will connect through Fibre. If not, you can buy Naked Broadband.

*Note: It's best to use a wired connection for the best Fibre MAX experience. Older devices, ethernet cables and internal wiring may not be able to cope. If you use WiFi with the Fibre MAX plan you won't be able to reach the optimal speed level.

5. Where to put your equipment

Your technician can discuss where to put the equipment with you, but here is a guide.

  • External Termination Point (ETP): You'll already have this for your copper line. Normally it’s fixed to the outside of your house. It’s there to connect your new Fibre cable to the Fibre hub on the road.
  • Optical Network Terminal (ONT): This is also known as the Fibre box. It connects the modem supplied by Spark to your Local Fibre Company. Choose a place where you'll get the best connection. If you can’t find a spot that works, you might need extra wiring put in, which can cost more. Ensure there are power points nearby, as well as jackpoints if you have a Fibre landline. It’s also helpful to install the box close to where you use the Internet. For a lot of people, that’s near a TV or computer. If you have a new build, check with the property developer if the communications panel has CAT 5 star wiring. If so, this is the best location for the box.
  • Fibre WiFi modem: When you’re ready for your Fibre connection we can courier the Fibre modem to you. This means you'll be ready when the install happens.

6. Whether your security or medical alarm will be compatible with Fibre

  • Check with your alarm company to see if your alarms will work. Once connected, you should test them over the new Fibre connection.
  • If you have any issues with your alarm you should contact your alarm provider
  • If you have a St Johns medical alarm on your home phone line, please contact them to organise a change to the wireless monitoring system. St John's Medical Alarm Devices

Here are some of the build methods the Local Fibre Companies can use. Every property is different so these options aren't all available for each connection. The technician will discuss the best option during the scope appointment.

Aerial cable (overhead line)

  • IIf you currently get phone and broadband through an aerial cable, the new Fibre cable can be put in the same way
     

Buried in a grass verge or garden

  • If you’ve got a grass or dirt driveway, the Fibre cable can be buried under that. They'll dig a shallow trench and lay the cable inside. If the trench needs to curve around a tree or path, that’s not a problem.

  • The installers will restore areas they've disrupted so it looks the same as before.

  • You may need to pay for this option if your current installation is above ground.
     

Buried cable under a driveway or path

  • If there is concrete from the road side to your property, they may drill or dig a trench to bury the new Fibre cabling.

  • The installers may drill a temporary hole at each end of your driveway to pull the Fibre cable through.

  • If your driveway needs trenching, installers can cut through the top layer to lay cables.

Fixed to a fence, driveway, or retaining wall

  • If there's a strong enough surface between your house and the road, your Fibre cable can be attached to it. This surface could be the edge of a driveway, retaining wall or a fence. It’s a good option if you don’t want any digging.

  • The Fibre cable is lightweight, ultaviolet (UV) stable and approximately 7mm in diameter. It's very strong and is very hard to damage.

Non-standard installation

If your installation becomes non-standard, a Spark representative will be in touch. A quote will be supplied for this work. It will need to be approved before the work can begin.
 

You'll need a non-standard installation if:

  • Your house is more than 200m from the Fibre access point on the street
  • If you decide to install your Fibre modem in a different place from the Fibre box and need extra wiring

  • If there is difficult terrain or structures at the property that are hard to work around

  • You may need extra wiring if you want your Fibre box in an unusual place. Some people like to put it in a room that’s hidden away. Others like to wire it up to a TV or computer that isn’t so close to where the Fibre cable enters the property. Note that the further away it is, the weaker your connection will be.
     

The non-standard installation could include:

  • Extra Fibre cabling

  • Converting an overhead cable to an underground cable.

  • Connecting a Fibre box to a location that is not easily accessible
     

Switch from aerial to underground

  • If you’ve got an aerial line but want Fibre to go underground, you can chat with Spark. Your Local Fibre Company will do the work but you'll cover the costs. If it’s easier, the technician can show you where the trench needs to go and you can do the work yourself.

  • While underground work is getting done, your Fibre order will be on hold. Once done, your technician will come back to finish the installation.

Upload and download speeds depend on many factors, including:

  • New Zealand and overseas networks
  • Your modem
  • Your computer's technology
  • Internal home wiring
  • Environmental factors

Considerations to improve your Fibre speed

  • Fibre is shared with others in the network. Speeds can vary depending on the number of people on it at the same time.
  • Other wireless devices, including your neighbours' WiFi, can affect your WiFi connection.
  • The age of your equipment may slow your speed. For example, an older WiFi adapter may not be as fast.
  • Other software can also limit bandwidth processing
  • It's best to connect devices directly to your modem. You can use high-speed Ethernet wiring. This offers a more reliable connection and faster speeds than WiFi.

Solve broadband speed issues

  • Fibre broadband and landlines will not work without power. This includes emergency services on 111.
  • You can stay connected with data on mobile phone. You could also buy a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) or generator.
  • You can also get a battery back-up system for Fibre devices:

If you have an outage, rather than a power cut, check out our Connection Promise

When you are ready to order Fibre, check out the Set up Fibre guide.