Chorus and the other fibre wholesalers are preparing to resume network building and adding connections when lockdown restrictions are eased from Tuesday.

Contractors and other technical staff are being instructed to continue practicing social distancing and regular hand washing, among other safety measures. Chorus says technicians will also call ahead to check homes are safe before making visits.

Andrew Carroll, Chorus GM for network and customer operations says during the lockdown the company only made essential fibre installs. There were about 500 a week, far slower than the usual rate which peaked in the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup with 26,000 connections in a single month.

Retail service providers continued taking fibre orders during the lockdown period. Some recorded high levels of interest in home connectivity upgrades as families increased home broadband use for work, study and entertainment.

Carroll says there is a backlog of orders to work through. He says; "There may be instances where we need to prioritise those most in need as we ramp up capacity and work within the Alert Level 3 restrictions”.

He also said that if customers are uncomfortable with a technician visit, Chorus can remotely upgrade an existing ADSL connection to VDSL.

Enable, the Christchurch fibre company says it will resume connections after performing only essential work while the nation was at Level 4. The company says it is contacting customers with connection orders to reschedule postponed appointments. It says it has capacity to manage 100 connections a day.

Steve Fuller, Enable CEO says he is confident the company can quickly meet the needs of existing and potential new orders. He anticipates new orders from people wanting the benefits of fibre as they spend more time at home.