Telecom is now selling VDSL in New Zealand. The company says the service will reach about two in three homes delivering a substantially faster internet experience than ADSL.

VDSL or very-high speed digital subscriber line is a technology that uses the older copper telephone network to deliver decent broadband speeds to homes that can’t yet get fibre.

These speeds are fast enough for customers to be able to use high-definition streaming television services as well as voice and internet access on a single line.

Prices are higher than ADSL, Telecom charges $10 more for VDLS than for comparable ADSL plans. In addition there are installation charges $99 for home users willing to commit to a year’s contract and $299 for those who don’t. A 500GB plan is $129. Businesses will pay the same as for existing ADSL plans but there’s a $199 installation fee.

Distance from exchange or cabinet is crucial

VDSL speeds depend on how far a building is from an exchange or roadside cabinet. After the first kilometre or so, performance drops.

In most cases they are comparable with low-end fibre speeds on the UFB network. And for most users represent a big jump from ADSL speeds.

In my case I live around 600m from a cabinet and testing shows I should be able to see 40Mbps down and 10Mbps up. With ADSL I typically get 12 to 14Mbps down and less than 1Mbps up.

In a media statement Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin said VDSL gives users a taste of fibre ahead of the nationwide UFB roll-out. That’s true, low-end fibre speeds are similar to VDSL, but the UFB network will be more reliable and have lower latency. The biggest winners will be users in small towns that are not scheduled to join the UFB network but are already on the Chorus cabinet network.

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