Fast Chorus van

Chorus says it will upgrade the 85,000 residential customers on a 30Mbps plan to 50Mbps at no extra charge. From January  50Mbps will become the new entry-level plan speed for customers on the company’s fibre network.

Because Chorus doesn’t sell direct, it will work with retail service providers to move customers to the new standard as quickly as possible. Chorus says it expects the move to complete early in the New Year.

Customers will not need to do anything themselves to get the upgrade. Nor will they need to buy new equipment. Chorus says the existing fibre modems are already able to work at the faster speed. Everything will happen in the background and they will then see the higher speeds.

At the time of writing the offer only applies to fibre customers in the Chorus UFB areas.

Christchurch and Canterbury fibre company Enable Networks says it is looking at whether it is able to make a similar move, but it is too early to say when at the moment. Ultrafast Fibre says that unlike Chorus, the other three fibre companies have offered a 5oMbps down 20 Mbps up product for the last two years.

Average now 35Mbps

Chorus’ move to 50Mbps comes five years after it demerged from Telecom NZ, now Spark, to win government supported fibre contracts. In that time the average broadband speed across all networks was less than 10Mbps. Today the average is nearly 35Mbps.

In that time the typical monthly data consumption has climbed from 20GB a month to more than 120GB.

Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe says: “Today, New Zealand has the highest rate of growth in fibre uptake in the world and a voracious appetite for data. The changes brought on by how we now expect to lead our connected lives lead Chorus in its decision to reset the baseline of what we should expect from our broadband.”