Chorus spent $7 million upgrading 125 rural cabinets to VDSL technology. The company says this could mean improved broadband for 10,000 rural customers.

As part of the upgrade, the cabinets were connected to exchanges with fibre. This is similar to the approach Australia’s NBN is taking in suburban areas across the Tasman.

Kurt Rodgers, Chorus network strategy manager, says the VDSL and fibre upgrade is a better option than fixed wireless broadband. Among other benefits, it means customers can get unlimited data plans not yet available on wireless. Both Vodafone and Spark offer fixed wireless broadband as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative.

Rodgers says rural customers will get a speed bump. Before the upgrade they would get a 5mbps service at best with speeds often below that. Now they expect to see an average of 45mbps if they buy a VDSL connection.