CHORUS IS TESTING a residential 10Gbps fibre service. It’s the fastest home broadband available anywhere in the world.

As you might expect, 10Gbps can deliver impressive performance. There is enough bandwidth to stream an 8K video alongside four high-definition 4K videos, all from a single access point. You no longer need to wait to play that new 25GB Xbox game. Click download and it will turn up on your console in 20 seconds.

10Gbps is so new that most homes aren’t properly equipped to use it yet. Even the best Wi-Fi router could only distribute a fraction of its available bandwidth around your home. To get the most from a 10Gbps connection, you would need to have a wired 10 gigabit Ethernet network.

That’s still rare for domestic set-ups, and even then there are still bottlenecks. To put 10Gbps in perspective, it is faster than everyday computers write data to their hard drive. Most solid-state drives can’t match the speed.

Around 30 users will be helping Chorus with its trial. One condition for taking part is testers must have a device that can cope with 10Gbps. Eventually, those 10Gbps devices will be commonplace, but not yet.

At first, the service will only be available in Avondale and Birkenhead in Auckland, and Johnsonville in Wellington.

Chorus is working with retail service providers to offer 10Gbps services to testers. 2degrees, 2Talk, Kordia, Orcon, Slingshot,

Ana Pesovic, Nokia's marketing director


Stuff Fibre and Trustpower are among the RSPs who have signed up to the trial. Chorus expects others to follow.

The 10Gbps trial uses Nokia’s XGS-PON technology. This upgrades Chorus’ existing fibre network to handle 10Gbps in both directions: up and down. It can sit alongside today’s residential networks and gives Chorus a straightforward upgrade path to offer 10Gbps everywhere fibre is available.

Ed Hyde, Chorus’ chief customer officer, says XGS-PON reinforces its ability to easily upgrade the world-class fibre infrastructure it has been building as the latest technologies become available.

Hyde says New Zealand’s broadband speeds have been rising fast. “In 2011, the average broadband speed was just 10Mbps or so. When Chorus’ fibre plans first launched, in 2012, the top speed then available was 100Mbps. We were then the first to make gigabit fibre broadband available in 2014.

Today this is the fastest growing plan on our network, with more than 44,000 customers.”

Ana Pesovic, Nokia’s marketing director for fixed networks, says her company has 19 deployments worldwide and over 50 XGS-PON trials are underway.

She says industry analysts forecast that XGS could overtake GPON in few years (GPON stands for Gigabit Passive Optical Network). There are a few reasons why this will happen:

First, it means a service provider can offer business products at the same time as domestic broadband. There is no need for two access points. This means higher margins for service providers, allowing them to move up into more demanding enterprise markets.

Another reason is it gives a service provider a competitive advantage. Pesovic says market-leading speeds and high-bandwidth upstream services are increasingly popular with residential customers demanding a premium experience. 10Gbps offers symmetrical bandwidth. That’s an important differentiator for service providers.

She says: “Last, but not least, XGS is increasingly gaining interest for mobile transport. With the imminent arrival of 5G mobile services bringing higher capacity and higher mobile cell density, 10G symmetrical fibre networks can be used for mobile transport. This increases the synergies between fixed and mobile networks, resulting in cost savings and the acceleration of 5G.”