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Fibre NZ a horror story

April 29, 2018

I’ve been living here in New Zealand for about 7 years now. In that time I’ve found a lot to love, and some to hate. Unfortunately, this story is about something that’s turned into a hate. Welcome to Fibre NZ: A Horror Story (in X parts since it’s ongoing).

One of the things I’ve been most excited about since moving to New Zealand, is their truly world class broadband. Most places in New Zealand, at least the most populated places, you are able to get Fibre to the Home (or FTTH). This is much different than the Fibre to the Node implimentation in places like Australia. A short commercial for Chorus and their FTTH spiel is below.

You can imagine, being the absolute geek that I am, I’ve been very excited about this. The ability to get Gigabit connections, to your house, is amazing. Simply mind blowing. To put this in a little bit of perspective, the average download speed in America is currently 18.7 megabits per second. That means it would take approximately 34 minutes to download an average 4 Gigabyte movie. That same movie, would take 42 Seconds to download at 800 megabits/second (averaging overhead on a gigabit connection).

You can now probably see why this is such an exciting prospect, especially for someone that consumes literally all of their entertainment online. No more buffering, no more worrying about downloading something while trying to stream, just pure, amazing, speed.

As you can see in the video above, it’s super easy to get installed right? Well… No… There are a few steps that need to (understandably) be completed first. A tech will need to come out and visit your location, see what the best route to run the cables are, and provide a plan that you (or your body corp if in a mutli-dwelling unit aka apartment) need to sign off on.

This is billed as a pretty easy process, and a quick one at that. They come out, they see what (if anything) is already run/installed, and plan it out, then give you a date for them to actually come do the installation. It sounds quite quick and easy, and it really seemed like it would be… at first…

Scoping

I contacted my ISP BigPipe and asked them to update my connection from VDSL to Fibre. They are of course very excited to this, as it’s a much more reliable connection, meaning fewer issues for them. They replied quickly, and gave me a scoping date, which would be when the tech would come out and plan the install. I was quite excited as you can imagine. In fact, it was just a short time from the time I asked them to do the upgrade.

The install date came, and the tech called me early in the morning to make sure I would be home for the scoping that afternoon. Of course I would be! How could I not be! That afternoon the tech came out, and said he was here for the scoping. He asked where we would like the ONT (the inside portion of the fibre install), and I showed him. No problem he said, I’ll just check the lines outside, we’ve done quite a few installs at this location (it’s a set of apartments).

Great news! He came back in and stated he found everything easily outside, and that it would be a “very easy install” as most of the work was already done (I should have known then…), and it would be done two weeks from that date. I was extremely excited to say the least. I could hardly sleep during those two weeks.

Install Day

Finally the install date came. I woke up at 5 AM, only because I was so excited, I was like a kid on christmas. I sat at home with my phone on me, waiting for the call. The tech was supposed to show up “Between 1 PM and 5 PM”. No problem. 11 am, no call (for scope day they had called by this time), no big deal. 11:45, still no call, starting to freak out just a tiny bit. 12:15, still no call. This is strange I think. I decided to look into it to make sure this is normal. It wasn’t.

I made a post on Geek Zone NZ to ask if this is normal. I didn’t get a response within 30 seconds, so I did what a normal rational person would do. I freaked out and pinged BigPipe and Chorus on twitter. BigPipe responed very quickly, asking for my email so they could check things. No problem I thought, gave them my email address. Great news! They stated they had checked my install, and there was no problem, the tech “would call a half hour before he showed up”. How relaxing that was to know things were just fine (spoiler: they weren’t).

A few minutes after I got a response from BigPipe, I received a message from Chorus, asking for my address so they could make sure things were good, because it was unusual for the tech to have no called in the morning. A sense of dread overwhelmed me. I gave Chorus my address and waited.

About 10 minutes after I had sent them my address, my phone dinged. It was a private message on Twitter from Chorus.

We can confirm that your broadband provider was updated on 24/04 advising that consents would be required before we could move forward with the connection. Unfortunately, this means that the install will not go ahead today.

The 24th was two days prior. So my ISP (BigPipe) was informed two days before the install date, that it wouldn’t be happening. So for two days, my ISP neglected to tell me, that there was an issue with the install, and it wouldn’t be happening. Not only that, they mentioned it was a “consent” issue. Consenting however, had been completed when the first people in my complex had fibre installed. It came from the body corp and was completed for all of the buildings at once. We even confirmed this with the owners below us.

I went back and forth with BigPipe over what consent was missing (they weren’t sure), how to get it (no idea) and what I should do now (just wait, it will take at least 30 more days)… That’s right, 30 more days for… something… to happen. It wasn’t until last night (6 days after the install date), that they told me it was actually an issue with the fibre cable not actually having been run to my building. Even though the apartment directly below us has fibre installed.

They told me they can’t do anything until Chorus does, can’t tell me how long it’s going to take, or when Chorus will be out to do another scope… for fibre that’s already run to the building… which has been confirmed by the first chorus tech… At this point, I’m ready to just give up. When (IF and it’s a big IF) I hear anything back, I’ll be sure to update, until then, I’ll just wait for the fibre install that isn’t…

Update 1: 30-04-18 4:23 PM

I just received the following email from BigPipe:

Hi

Chorus now tells us that “no consents have been gained for this property” and they need to assess and seek consent before they can proceed.

You’ve told us before that some of your neighbours have been using fibre already, and we’ve checked all ## apartments in number # and we can confirm that 4 of your neighbours have fibre installed. We’ve told Chorus this and requested them to recheck and will update you.

It seems like Chorus is really dropping the ball on this entire thing. More updates to come I’m sure… Stay tuned!

Update 2: 01-05-18 11:50 AM

I just received a follow up email from Bigpipe:

Hi,

We heard back from Chorus and they said they hope to get us an update this week. We will keep you updated and informed on the progress. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work this through

Hopefully this means it’s getting closer, I won’t hold my breath though.