A New Chorus
To better approach the UFB initiative, Telecom New Zealand – now known as Spark New Zealand – decided to split its retail and infrastructure divisions. The infrastructure portion was spun off into a new, separate corporation known as Chorus New Zealand, which became the largest infrastructure provider in the country.
Chorus earned contracts to roll out fibre broadband to 24 of 33 areas in New Zealand, a project that would require nearly $1 billion in government funding, 20,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables and a workforce of more than 2,000 field engineers.
A number of potential obstacles stood in Chorus’ way, according to a report on the project by Analysys Mason. To deliver bestin- class, fibre-based services to New Zealand customers and meet the build requirements of the UFB project, Chorus needed to establish its own independent, fibre service fulfilment system. That system would need to be modern and enable large-scale logical inventory and activation capabilities – and it would need to be developed nearly from the ground up.
UFB Sets an Aggressive Pace
Another challenge for Chorus was the pace at which it would need to develop a fibre fulfilment system and then subsequently roll out service to 70 percent of customers within the total UFB footprint.
The UFB project includes a number of short-term deadlines for fibre deployment. Schools, hospitals and 90 percent of businesses would need to be connected by 2015. Residential homes and the remaining 10 percent of businesses were required to be wired up by 2019.
The initiative would result in a substantial speed increase for all affected homes. On average, New Zealand broadband speeds reached 3.5 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2011. Fibre technology would enable download speeds of at least 100 Mbps to start with, unlocking significantly faster Internet speeds for New Zealand residents and businesses.
To deliver these speeds and meet UFB’s deadlines, Chorus eschewed the traditional approach many digital and communications service providers rely upon for infrastructure upgrade planning.