Unleash those cabinets please

A surprising puff piece from Chris Keall in the NBR sings the praises of Telecom’s Chorus Division’s cabinet roll out:

The Telecom division is now half way through its government-mandated project to roll-out 3600 roadside fibre optic cable cabinets around neighborhoods nationwide. Each shortens the distance that data has to travel over an older copper line on its way to a phone exchange.

The aim is to give 80% of New Zealanders access to a 10Mbit/s to 20Mbit/s internet connection by the end of 2011.

Costing north of $1 billion, it’s the largest telecommunications infrastructure project currently under way across Australia or New Zealand.

While it’s great that Telecom are spending money on infrastructure my understanding was that cabinetisation was less than optimal.

I was cabinetised recently – I found out when my internet disappeared and connected that event with the chap playing with wires in a box down the road.

To reconnect I needed to downgrade from naked ADSL 2.0 (no phone number required) to an ADSL 1.0 product which required that I start paying for a telephone number. I have yet to plug in a phone, and resent paying the extra dollars each month.

I’m a decent distance from the exchange and as xDSL degrades over distance the cabinet process worked, and my average connection speeds went up.  I now get 12 MBPS from my house to to the local Wellington server – so thanks Chorus.

But how good it would be if I was able to use an Orcon ADSL 2.0 connection, and not have to pay for a phone line?

So Chris – I have a couple of questions – maybe you can answer them, or maybe Telecom and Chorus can next time you chat:

  • As I understand my ISP, Orcon, cannot put their own ADSL 2.0 (or VDSL for that matter) inside the Chorus cabinet – is that right? (I actually don’t know)
  • Indeed are competitors able to get unfettered access to these cabinets?
  • Will those cabinets support delivering fibre to the premise? I’d really like really fast two way connectivity.
  • Was this really a government mandate as the article says – or just Telecom’s way of delivering to a broadband mandate?
  • Can anyone sign up to a Telecom service without committing to a 2 year contract?

Published by Lance Wiggs


10 replies on “Unleash those cabinets please”

  1. Vodafone, Orcon and others can physically install their own VDSL2 gear in Chorus roadside cabinets (and indeed both have a trial underway, in a single Auckland cabinet each) but both complain that the Commerce Commission-dictated access rates make this an uneconomic proposition.

    See this previous NBR article, which I linked to in one of the photo captions for today’s story:


    I’ve also previously mentioned (it’s hard to gauge what stuff to keep bringing up) that the Chorus cabinets can take G-Pon cards for fibre-to-the-premise – be they from Telecom Broadband or another ISP/retail fibre provider.

    Telecom has to deliver 10Mbit/s to 20Mbit/s connections to 80% of New Zealanders by the end of 2011 as part of its government Operational Separation Undertakings. It chose roadside cabinets as the vehicle for this upgrade – and in purely infrastructure/practical terms its a logical route. Of course, Telecom’s rivals have had a lot of issues about access, which have had a good airing on NBR’s website.

    Hope this fills in a few gaps,


  2. As far as I can see this is an effort to undo the local loop unbundling we had a few years ago.

    I live on the North Shore and get sync speeds of 16 down/1 up.
    Unfortunately our street is due to be cabnetised this year and as we are on Orcon (whom I love) our speeds will undoubtedly go down.

    I believe that if we are to retain the relative openness of the internet we *debatably* experience now, it must be open from the ground up.

    Surely the better solution would have been to skip the cabinets and go directly to fibre-to-the-premises?


  3. I believe the VDSL2 gear tht Vodafone and Orcon each have in a single Chorus cabinet in Auckland is it – there’s not ADSL2+ stuff.

    My latest information from each is that plans to install their own VDSL2 gear commercially, en masse, are on hold indefinitely because the Commerce Commission-approved access pricing to cabinets is too high (of course, it can also be installed into exchanges).

    Since May 2009, all DSL gear going into Chorus cabinets (which are rolled out on a Commerce Commission-dictated pace of 25 a week)has been VDSL2.

    A Chorus rep told me that the only VDSL2 cards are manufactured these days.


  4. Any ISP can put their gear in those cabinets. They are designed to be filled – everything you need to know is here: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/sbiddle/7113

    The problem is economics. Not as much as the access rates as stated by Chris, but how many people will be using the service?

    If Orcon but their gear in a cabinet and only one user in that road is connected (yourself), then it get REALLY expensive for them. Even if it was cheap access rates – because the equipment is still paid for the number of ports ordered, not the number of ports in use.


  5. Orcon and Vodafone both say that if the number of people who sign up for VDSL2 in any given neighourhood is roughly equal to their overall broadband marketshare, then it’s still uneconomic for them to access a cabinet.


  6. so, three years later, are you worse off since you were cabinetised? i only wish i could have been cabinetised. I have ADSL with 7Mbps/1Mbps (no cabinet) and UFB is years away….


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