How is the UFB network built?
There are three stages to receiving services over UFB: the Local Fibre Company (LFC) or Chorus will build distribution fibre down your street, then they will put in a connection ( the service line or “drop” from the street) to your home, school or business; and finally inside your building you’ll have your computer and other devices connected to an Optical Network Termination point (ONT).
1.) Constructing the network in your neighbourhood
The UFB initiative is building what is known as the “last mile”, that is the fibre connection from the exchange, or the cabinet, to your door. Generally there will be a period of up to six months between confirmation of building in an area and the work commencing. You will be advised several weeks in advance of when work is starting in your street. The LFC/Chorus will let you know when work will get underway, they’ll tell you when or if you should make alternative parking arrangements and will ensure the work site is safe. The time it takes to build the network in your street will vary depending on whether the build is overhead or, as in most cases, underground. Deployment is also affected by local geology, for example whether you live on volanic rock or alluvial soils.
2.) The UFB service line or “drop” from your property boundary to your building
Once the network is in place in your street, either you might choose to respond to a promotion by a Retail Service Provider (generally an Internet Service Provider or telecommunications company) or the LFC/Chorus may invite you to have a service line put in as they go past your door. The line can be strung from a pole or run underground from a fibre access point on the boundary. This will largely depend on the type of deployment in your street. Whichever way the “drop” is delivered to your building, it will extend to what’s called an “External Termination Point” (ETP). Just like the current copper service, the ETP is a small box fixed to the outside wall. LFCs/Chorus do not charge your service provider for a standard installation but an up front charge may apply if your drop is longer than the standard length. You are best to confirm if there’s a cost when you buy a service.
3.) Inside your home, school or workplace
You can get set up for fibre when you get the service line. The installer will put a small box called an Optical Network Termination (ONT) point inside the building, and connect it to the External Termination Point. Generally the ONT is located in a central place in the building, near the other devices you’ll want to run over fibre. It needs a power source and you may request a battery backup in the event of an emergency.
Your Retail Service Provider may invite you to purchase a Residential Gateway. This connects to the ONT as well as your TV, your phone and your computer or laptop. It can be linked to devices over a fixed connection, or wirelessly, and it will replace your old broadband modem or DSL router. If you’ve got an alarm, that will be connected to your fibre service line directly via the ONT. If you’ve got a fax machine, that can also be connected.