Chorus’ brilliant VDSL gambit

From June 7 Chorus will sell VDSL on its copper network at the same price as ADSL.

The clue to why this is a smart move lies in the technology’s full name: Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line. VDSL speeds are noticeably higher than today’s ADSL services.

Theoretically, VDSL download speeds top out at 50Mbps, although to get the full benefit you need to be relatively close to an exchange or roadside cabinet. Typically users can expect to see two or three times today’s ADSL download speeds if they switch.

But that’s not the whole story. VDSL upload speeds are many times faster than ADSL upload speeds. Typically New Zealand users upload at less than 1Mbps, VDSL can upload at 16Mbps, but users will more realistically see 5 to 10Mbps.

In practice, you’ll notice the faster upload speed the first time you attempt to send a large file. Higher upload speeds will make a huge difference to people using cloud computing, social media and video applications. Gamers like it too.

The gamble could potentially pay huge dividends for Chorus on two counts as it continues its nationwide fibre to the premises roll-out.

First, VDSL will get users hooked on fast internet services like video conferencing and keep up interest on speedy services during the six or so remaining years it will take for the UFB network to reach all urban areas.

Second, it will get people hooked on fast land-line services. This matters because overseas experience shows wireless broadband services challenge fibre uptake in places where consumers have a clear choice. Fast wireless internet will reach most urban areas much sooner than the UFB, so VDSL effectively diminishes competitive threat.

As a byproduct, VDSL will also encourage service providers to focus on high-end UFB plans. VDSL speeds will be close to the 30Mbps offered in low-end UFB plans.

Chorus says it will stop selling new VDSL connections in areas where the fibre network is completed.

10 thoughts on “Chorus’ brilliant VDSL gambit

  1. VDSL2 speeds depends on which profile and bandplan is used and how the provider sets them up. This means you can 200Mbps downloads under ideal conditions, or 100/100Mbps symmetric bandwidth etc.

    By default, Chorus uses Profile 8b that can provide 50Mbps down and up to 20Mbps up. Chorus rate limits this to 30/10Mbps however.

    Profile 17a provides 100/50Mbps (rate limited to 70/10 by Chorus) and if your line’s clean and the distance to the cabinet is short, you should be able to get close to those speeds.

    My modem was able to sync at 85/35Mbps which would’ve been fantastic, but I was happy to have 65/10Mbps compared to normal slowpoke ADSL2+.

    It’s also important to differentiate between VDSL and VDSL2, the latter being the newer technology that Chorus is using.

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  2. >From June 7 Chorus will sell VDSL on its copper network at the same price as ADSL.

    Where are they selling it and when? Will I automatically get it with my small town Vodafone connection, or will it be on the never-never like fibre?

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    • Hi John

      You’ll get it if you’re on the cabinet network. Chorus used to joke that’s pretty much everywhere inside urban 50 kph speed zones. I guess that means Martinborough will be covered, but not if you’re outside town in the wop wops.

      It depends on your ISP. I’m told Telecom will sell VDSL, to my knowledge – and it could be out of date – Vodafone hasn’t said anything yet.

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      • I’m with Vodafone since the TCL takeover, so here’s hoping they adopt VDSL quickly. The cabinet is only two doors away.

        Incidentally, while they are transitioning the TCL broadband plans, Vodafone has been open to a bit of haggling. I was on a $78 a month (including line maintenance) deal with TCL. That was for phone plus 40Gb data. Now, for only $7 more a month, I’m getting 60Gb, the phone line, plus free toll calls throughout NZ. That’s significantly better than plans advertised on the Vodafone website.

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      • Having a cabinet only two doors away means you can expect to see 40Mbps down and 10Mbps up. If you were a rich man :-) you could pay privately to have a UFB-like fibre connection from the cabinet. That distance wouldn’t be prohibitive, but nor would it be cost effective unless you need 100Mbps.

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      • Our house is with Vodafone and I noticed significantly better speeds over the weekend when updating my computer. Usually ~800KB/s I was going 2.5MB/s+.

        I would like to note upload speeds affect browsing too as you are still half of the communication so sending requests/responses quicker does a lot to make pages feel ‘snappier’.

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  3. We’ve been selling VDSL for over a year and our customers love it!

    I welcome this move but don’t expect to see all ISPs offer VDSL at the same price as ADSL – with higher capacity requirements (especially with domestic backhaul) there are higher costs.

    One ISP launched new pricing yesterday with VDSL having a $10+GST premium on top of their normal ADSL plans.

    Full Flavour (us) will make a pricing announcement next month.

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    • What about the initial setup costs – new wiring and new modem? Do any VDSL modems come with an integrated router? Or would I be able to use a VDSL modem with just the router part of my existing integrated ADSL modem/router?

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