FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
1. Tuatahi First Fibre and Ultrafast Broadband (UFB)
1.1 Who is Tuatahi First Fibre (previously Ultrafast Fibre)?
With the help of several partners, the New Zealand Government is undertaking an initiative to provide ultrafast broadband (UFB) using fibre optic technology to provide voice and broadband internet services to 75% of New Zealand homes, businesses, schools and healthcare facilities by 2021. We are Tuatahi First Fibre Limited (previously Ultrafast Fibre Limited) and we are the Government’s local partner working to build the UFB network in Hamilton, Tauranga, Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Hawera, and Whanganui. Building the UFB network will involve either laying fibre optic cables underground, or in some cases, running the cables across existing power poles, and then connecting fibre cables from the street into individual premises. We sell access to our UFB network to retail service providers who then on-sell UFB services to members of the public or businesses (i.e. home owners, tenants, building owners, hospitals, schools, etc). We do not sell services directly to members of the public or businesses, but we work together with the retail service providers to supply UFB services on our network.
1.2 What regions do Tuatahi First Fibre service?
We service the urban areas of Hamilton, Tauranga, Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Hawera, and Whanganui. We are building approximately 163,000 premises across these areas.
1.3 What is ultrafast broadband?
Ultrafast broadband is generally defined as services which deliver much faster speeds in excess of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps), using optical fibre technology rather than the slower copper technology (ADSL or VDSL). With ultrafast broadband, you will experience faster download and upload speeds, more reliable connectivity, crisper and sharper video calls, among others.
2. Getting ultrafast broadband
2.1 Can I get ultrafast broadband (UFB) at my house?
You can check the availability of UFB services to your house using the Address Checker Tool.
2.2 How do I get ultrafast broadband (UFB)?
You need to contact your preferred retail service provider and sign-up to a UFB plan or package. Tuatahi First Fibre does not sell broadband (or phone) services directly to public or businesses. We have created this 3-step Connection Process Guide for your quick reference. You can also familiarise yourself with the Tuatahi First Fibre standard installation process by watching a short video.
2.3 My neighbour had ultrafast broadband (UFB) installed. Why can’t I get it at my house?
There could be a couple of reasons:
- Your property is connected to a different UFB cabinet on your street and that cabinet is not yet ready.
- Your retail service provider may not be selling UFB plans yet, and if they are not, they may inform you that you cannot get UFB at your house (although that does not mean that you cannot go and buy a UFB service from a different retail service provider). Click here for a full list of retail service providers.
2.4 My address is not covered within the Tuatahi First Fibre coverage area, what options do I have?
If you are outside of our build areas, you can check your address using https://broadbandmap.nz/ for other access options.
2.5 A retail service provider advised me that I can’t get ultrafast broadband (UFB) even though I have seen you building in my street.
Your retail service provider may not be selling any UFB services yet, although that does not mean that you cannot go and buy a UFB service from a different provider. You can check your address with the Address Checker Tool to confirm whether or not UFB is available in your area. You can also check the list of retail service providers selling in your region. The general rule is if you have seen our crews building the network in your street, you can get a UFB service once the network has been tested (testing is usually completed three months after the work in your street has been carried out).
2.6 I am currently on a broadband internet (and phone) plan with a provider and I want to switch to ultrafast broadband (UFB) but I was advised that my current provider is not selling UFB services at this time. When will my current provider launch UFB services and should I wait or should I look for other providers?
Your retail service provider should be able to inform you if (and when) they are planning to start selling UFB services in your area. It is definitely worth asking them for updates every now and then. In the meantime, it is your choice if you want to look for another provider.
3. The installation
3.1 I have questions about the ultrafast broadband (UFB) installation process. Who should I ask?
Your first point of contact at all times will be your broadband service provider. Our crews will be carrying out the UFB installation at your property and they will contact you to discuss that installation process (and any questions you have) after you place an order for a UFB service with your broadband provider.
3.2 What is involved in an ultrafast broadband (UFB) installation? How long is it going to take? Do I need to be there?
There are three steps to the actual physical installation process: (1) the Scoping Visit, (2) the Exterior Visit, and (3) the Installation Visit. You need to be home for the Scoping and Installation Visits so that our technician can discuss the process with you and agree the best location to fit the fibre equipment. The length of time and the installation process required will differ for each property. You can read more about the steps here.
3.3 What forms do I need to sign to receive an ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
In addition to the contract you sign with your broadband service provider, you will need to sign certain forms for approving the work to be performed at your property. Part of those forms is a contract between you and Tuatahi First Fibre (the owner of the UFB network you are connected to). That contract is known as the End User Terms and contains the obligations we have to each other in relation to your UFB service and the equipment located on your property. You need to read those terms carefully so that you understand them. The End User Terms are the same terms for everyone who connects to a UFB service and if you do not want to sign the End User Terms we cannot carry out your UFB installation.
3.4 I have overhead power feeding my house. Does this mean that my ultrafast broadband (UFB) service will be connected the same way?
In most cases, yes, although there may be some exceptions. Our installers will discuss the options available to you.
3.5 I want ultrafast broadband (UFB) connected but I don’t want any damage to my flower gardens, lawns or driveway. What is your policy as far as reinstatement goes?
Our installers will do the best they can to cause minimal disruption to your property; however in some cases, access through a garden, lawn or driveway will be required. Our installer will discuss your options before starting any work. After our installer has completed the work, they will use their best efforts to reinstate the areas of your property where the work has carried out to the condition it was in when they arrived. There may be some instances where we cannot get an exact match, e.g. imported tiles, but they will do the best they can. If you have areas that you think might be hard to match, please let your broadband service provider know as soon as you order an UFB service.
4. Apartment buildings, units, right of ways, shared properties, tenanted properties
4.1 I live in a block of flats or apartment. Will I get my own ultrafast broadband (UFB) connection?
Yes, as long as the owner of the building (or the person in charge of managing the building, such as a real estate property manager, owners association or body corporate) has agreed to the installation of our UFB cables and equipment. After we receive the consent of the building owner (or authorised person), our installation crew will arrange to connect your building to our UFB network and install the necessary UFB cables and equipment all the way to your individual dwelling unit.
4.2 I would like to connect to ultrafast broadband (UFB) but I live down a right of way (ROW); how much will this cost me?
We do not charge you a connection fee to install a residential UFB service from the boundary of your property to the optical network terminal (ONT) which is attached inside your property – even if that property is located along (or can only be accessed) via a right of way (ROW). However, please note that some broadband service providers may charge you an installation fee when you sign up or order a UFB service, and we recommend that you ask your broadband provider what (if any) connection charges there may be. You will also be asked to obtain the written consent from your neighbours (i.e. the owners of the other properties located on the same ROW), because they have certain rights in relation to the land that the ROW is on and they need to know what work is being carried out. We cannot start doing any work on the ROW until we have all of those consents.
5. New Builds
5.1 I am building a new house and want to get ultrafast broadband (UFB) laid and installed as part of the build, how do I go about this?
If you are building a new home or renovating, in most cases you will have an open trench for power and telecommunications services. While your trench is open it is worth future proofing for access to our UFB network. All you need to do is lay a white 20mm plastic duct in the trench and leave a marker at the end, or leave the end of duct exposed. This allows easy access for our installers to connect your duct to the main UFB cable in the street. Guidelines can be found here.
If we have already reticulated our fibre underground in your street, we will have installed a duct to your boundary. It is advantageous if the duct you install has one end near to where we have installed our duct. We will be happy to assist you in identifying where we have installed our duct to your boundary.
6.1 What will it cost me to connect to an ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
We do not charge a connection fee for a residential UFB installation from the boundary of the property to the optical network terminal (ONT) which is attached inside your property. You may incur a nominal charge from your chosen broadband service provider for your UFB service installation. For example, some providers charge an installation fee for additional work (such as, if a driveway is longer than 200m) or equipment and we recommend that you ask your provider what (if any) connection charges they will charge you for your new UFB service. Please note that Tuatahi First Fibre Limited is not liable to you for any costs your provider charges you, or for any delay or other costs incurred by you as a result of your UFB service, unless stated otherwise in the End User Terms (which is the contract between you and Tuatahi First Fibre Limited that you must agree to when you approve the UFB installation – and before we can commence any work – at your property).
6.2 Do ultrafast broadband (UFB) monthly plan charges cost a lot more than what I’m currently paying?
We do not control retail pricing for UFB services, and we do not sell services directly to members of the public or businesses. We only provide access to our network for (retail) broadband providers through our wholesale contract with them. Fibre is a better technology platform for broadband offering faster speeds and enhanced user experience and is competitively priced at a retail level to plans over legacy copper services. Each retail broadband provider has its own pricing. A list of all broadband providers who are selling fibre in your area can be found here.
6.3 While the ultrafast broadband (UFB) installers are at my house, I want to install some secondary points, will they do this and what will it cost?
Yes, our installers may be able to carry out that work for you. Our installers are all sub-contractors, so they may agree to do the work for you and ask you to sign a contract for that work (and the price you will need to pay). Please note that the cost of any additional work carried out by our installers at your request is not covered by us (or the Government’s ultrafast broadband project) and that Tuatahi First Fibre Limited is not liable to you for any work you ask our installers to carry out for you, and your contract with them will set out the terms for that work.
6.4 I have a working ultrafast broadband (UFB) connection currently, but would like to move the ONT to a different location. Who do I contact and how much will it cost me?
You must call your broadband internet provider and tell them what you need. They will contact us and ask if we can carry out the work and things will go from there. We may charge your provider for that work, and you should ask your provider what costs they will charge you.
7.1 Will I have to rewire my house?
No. The UFB service can be used in a similar manner to a copper based service such as ADSL. If the ONT is not installed where your ADSL modem was installed, you may need to provide a cable between the two locations. Some broadband providers will include a wireless router when you sign up with that provider; and that router will give you the ability to access the UFB using wireless devices throughout your house. In saying that, however, exciting new services that are only possible over UFB will become available over time and some of these may require new wiring. The wiring required (Ethernet, Cat5 or Cat6) has been around for many years so your house may already be wired to provide the full ultrafast broadband experience.
7.2 Where should I put my optical network terminal (ONT)?
The ONT is the piece of equipment which is fixed to a wall inside your house. All houses and businesses are different, so when our installers come to your house or business to install the fibre connection they will discuss with you the best place for your ONT.
7. 3 I am moving house soon. Can I take my optical network terminal (ONT) and External Termination point (ETP) with me to use at my new house?
This equipment is installed for use at that specific address. Whether you have given up the tenancy or sold the property, that equipment is allocated for use only at that property. If you would like ultrafast broadband (UFB) at your new house, you will need to contact your service provider to install UFB at your new address, and this may require a full new connection if an ONT and ETP are not already installed there. If you find that some ultrafast equipment is missing, such as the power cord for the ONT, please contact your service provider to arrange for their replacement.
8. Existing services (e.g. wifi, telephone, Sky TV, medical or security alarms)
8.1 Can I still use my wifi?
If you currently use Wi-Fi technology to connect your computer and other devices to access broadband, you will still be able to do this with ultrafast broadband.
8.2 Can I use the modem/router and other equipment I have now for my current broadband internet service or do I need to replace it with special ultrafast broadband equipment?
If you currently have broadband internet, your modem and router are both located in the same piece of equipment. With ultrafast (fibre optic) broadband internet there will be two separate pieces of equipment. One is the optical network terminal (ONT), which is provided free-of-charge by us when we connect your home onto our network (i.e. we do not charge you, or your broadband internet provider, for the ONT). The second piece of equipment that you will need is a router, which is a small box you can place on your wall, desk or bench top. The router is provided by your broadband internet provider and the price is sometimes included when you sign up for the new service, or forms part of the sign up charges you pay to your broadband internet provider. Some broadband internet providers may recommend that you retain your existing wireless router or they will provide you with an additional device in order to deliver specific services that they provide or that you have asked for. We recommend asking your broadband service provider directly.
8.3 Will my existing telephone work with an ultrafast broadband service?
Most broadband internet providers have a solution that will allow your existing telephone to work. With the addition of a simple adaptor your existing phone should plug straight into the ONT or router that are installed inside your house. Your broadband internet provider may choose to offer you a new telephone system that is packaged with a wireless router. You will need to discuss your options with them.
8.4 Will my home alarm/ medical alarm continue to work with an ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
Some modern monitored home alarm systems will continue to operate over UFB phone services, with some slight modifications that can be done by your alarm monitoring company. The monitoring component on older alarms may not work on the UFB network. Some ISPs do not support these devices and so are recommending that they are not connected to the UFB network. You must talk to your broadband provider about your requirements and what options you have if you require a monitored and/or a medical alarm.
8.5 Will my Sky TV still work with an ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
Your Sky TV viewing and reception will be unaffected by the installation of a UFB service in your home. Sky TV currently has a system that allows you to order movies or other pay-per-view services directly from your Sky set-top box. Some broadband internet providers will ensure that your existing Sky TV service will continue to work. We recommend that you talk to your broadband internet provider to discuss your requirements or if you have any questions. We note that new internet-based TV services designed specifically to run over the UFB network are expected to become available in New Zealand in the near future.
9. Retail broadband package
9.1 A broadband service provider tried to convince me to choose VDSL over an ultrafast broadband (UFB) service. What is the difference?
VDSL is a technology that uses the existing copper network. It can match the lower end UFB speeds but it is not designed to match faster UFB speeds. VDSL is still affected by the same variables that affect current copper connections, such as the distance your property is from the exchange and the load on the network (i.e. the number of other properties using that network). Broadband internet providers who are unable to sell you a UFB service may try and convince you to switch to VDSL. We suggest talking to more than one provider and to research all your available options.
9.2 What ultrafast broadband (UFB) package should I choose?
We recommend that you discuss your needs and requirements and research all of the UFB package options with broadband internet providers to help you decide which package is best for you.
10. I’m already connected to the Tuatahi First Fibre network.
10.1 Who do I call if I have an issue with my ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
You must contact your broadband service provider for any questions relating to your UFB service. If the issue is related to our network, then your provider will contact us and we will work with them.
10.2 There is a power cut affecting my ultrafast broadband (UFB), do I need to contact my service provider or Tuatahi First Fibre?
No, your broadband services will be restored once the power returns. If your service does not return once the power is back, please let your service provider know.
10.3 I want to do some renovations at my house, can I remove the ultrafast fibre equipment from my walls while I do this?
Please contact your service provider, and they can liaise with us to arrange a fibre technician to move this equipment. This work may incur some charges. Please note if your equipment is removed and not reconnected elsewhere in your house, you will lose UFB services during your renovations.
10.4 I want to do some landscaping. I remember having some cabling run under my lawn/garden when I ordered Ultrafast Broadband. How do I make sure my landscaping work doesn’t damage the fibre?
Please contact your service provider, they will be able to assist you to ensure that any digging or excavation you do will not damage your fibre. If you have been excavating already and find something in your property that looks like an ultrafast fibre duct (TFF cables are delivered through a bright red tubing), please stop work immediately and contact your service provider with the detail of work undertaken, and if any damage has already been caused to the tubing. They will assist us with assessing the risk or damage to TFF fibre and advise of any changes to your plans in line with the assessment.
11. Ultrafast broadband performance
11.1 After I move to ultrafast broadband (UFB), are there other factors that could affect the speed and quality of the UFB service I receive?
Everyone should enjoy a much better broadband performance on the UFB network because it has much greater capacity for delivering high speed internet services to the home and UFB is not limited by distance. If you do not notice an improvement, you should contact your broadband internet provider. In saying that, there are a range of factors outside the UFB connection that can affect the performance of UFB at your place, and your broadband internet provider can help you identify these factors.
11.2 What can I do to maximise the performance of my ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
The age, capability and condition of your computer and other devices can affect the performance of UFB services and content delivered over the UFB network. Upgrading or replacing your computer or other devices may improve performance.
11.3 Do data caps limit the performance of ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
It is likely that customers will use more data more quickly when connected to a UFB service because they can enjoy more advanced services and better quality content. To avoid the inconvenience of running out of data or being charged if you go over your data limit, discuss your data cap with your broadband internet provider when you sign up for broadband UFB service.
11.4 I signed up to an ultrafast broadband (UFB) plan. Why is it that sometimes the actual speed is less than the service I signed up for?
Some broadband internet providers are advertising plan speeds of 30/10 or 100/50. The numbers often relate to the speeds of the wholesale UFB service that a provider purchases from us. A 30/10 UFB service equates to a download speed of 30 Mbps and an upload speed of 10 Mbps. Beyond the wholesale layer (the part that we control) there are other factors that can influence (reduce) the speeds, such as backhaul and international traffic speeds and what speed test you are using. If you continually receive speeds that you believe are insufficient you should contact your broadband internet provider to discuss your options.
12. Network assurance
12.1 I work for a house moving company and want to check our route with Tuatahi First Fibre to make sure we don’t damage any fibre. How do I do this?
Please email us on [email protected] with all the details of the route, and we will review your plans and get back in touch with you to discuss any risk assessment or route review requirements.
12.2 My company is planning to undertake development, construction, or demolition, and we want to make sure we don’t impact Tuatahi First Fibre equipment or fibre ducting. How do I engage Tuatahi First Fibre to avoid damage of the equipment or fibre?
Please contact B4udig, www.beforeyoudig.co.nz or 0800 248 344 and they will be able to help you identify any underground Tuatahi First Fibre cables in and around your site.
If there is a Tuatahi First Fibre cabinet or pedestal, or overhead fibre cable that you think may be in the way of your work, please contact us on [email protected] with the location, details of identifying marks or numbers, and any pictures or plans that relate to the works required. We will get back in touch to coordinate any work or site visits required.
12.3 A car has crashed into a fibre cabinet near my house. Who do I call to fix this, and what information do they need?
Please call our team on 0800 833 622 option 3 or email to [email protected] with the address of the cabinet and any identifying details on the cabinet. We will get a field expert out to review the damage and get the damage repaired. If the damage impacts your broadband services, you will also need to let your service provider know.
12.4 A fibre cabinet or external termination point (ETP) near my house has been vandalised. Are you able to repair this?
Yes we can. Please call our team on 0800 833 622 option 3 or email to [email protected] with the address and any identifying details, serial numbers, and the nature of the vandalism. Our field teams will be dispatched to repair or clean this as soon as they can.
12.5 Where can I find the High Load Management Application Form?
13.1 I live down a Right of Way (ROW) and one of my neighbours won’t sign the ROW consent form. What can I do? Can you help?
Unfortunately there is not much that we can do to convince your neighbours to sign the ROW consent form. Every property owner in New Zealand has a clear set of rights that are attached to their land and we do not have the power to ignore or infringe those rights. We will work with you and our contractors to provide as much information as possible to everyone involved, but if your neighbour does not want to give consent, we do not have any rights (under law) to proceed with the work.
13.2 What consent is required if my property is on a cross-lease and I want to order an ultrafast broadband (UFB) service?
Before commencing any UFB installation work for a property built on a cross-leased property, we must obtain the written consent from all property owners who share that cross-leased section. We will provide you with a consent form for the other owner(s) to sign. The consent will only need to be signed once. So, if any other owner on that cross lease wants to order a UFB service in the future, we will not need to come back and ask for your consent (or the consent of any other owners on that cross lease).
13.3 I am a tenant. What consent is required if I want to order ultrafast broadband (UFB)?
If you are a tenant in a residential property (i.e. a house), you will need to obtain verbal or written consent of your landlord (or property manager) and confirm to us that you have that consent. You do not need to provide us with a copy of the consent, unless we ask for it. If you are a tenant in a multi-unit complex (i.e. an apartment, a block of units or a commercial building), we need the written consent of the owner of the building (or the person in charge of managing the building, such as a real estate agent property manager, owners association or body corporate) before we can install (and, as required, access) our equipment in that building.
13.4 Is there a statute that requires Tuatahi First Fibre to gain consent from private landowners to install our network assets?
No there isn't. In New Zealand, this legal obligation is based in the Law of Tort. This is called 'common law'. You may not be aware but the majority of legal principles in New Zealand are based on common law that have been created by the courts over hundreds of years.
13.5 So what common law principle applies here?
The law of tort of trespass is what is relevant here. Basically, a third party may not enter onto, access, encroach or otherwise interfere with privately held property without that landowner's consent.
13.6 What happens if Tuatahi First Fiibre just goes ahead and installs its assets without consent?
We would be trespassing and liable for a civil action to be taken against us for trespassing on private property.
13.7 Can’t you take a legal easement?
We could but it is very expensive and time consuming to obtain a legal easement in our favour from every landowner.
13.8 I have an easement granted to me by my neighbour to install and maintain services, can I rely on this?
Unfortunately, TFF cannot rely on your private easement. That is because it is between just you and the other landowner. None of those rights extend to TFF itself. For TFF to rely on an easement right, the easement has to be granted 'in gross' to TFF meaning it is granted to us specifically (or any assignee that we may sell our business to). This is registered against the landowner's title so that it lasts forever even if they sell their property to someone else.
13.9 What is the difference between a consent and an easement?
An easement is a land right whereas a consent (which in contract language is called a 'licence') is a contract right granting permission by the private landowner to TFF to permit us access to install and maintain our network assets on their property.
13.10 Will Tuatahi First Fibre install without a consent to install?
Unfortunately not. We would not be able to because this would be trespassing. See note 2 above for more info on this.
13.11 My neighbour will not agree to consent to TFF installing network assets, can you help?
Unfortunately there is not much that we can do to convince your neighbours to sign a consent form. Every property owner in New Zealand has a clear set of rights (see notes 1 and 2 for more info) that are attached to their land and we do not have the power to ignore or infringe those rights. We will work with you and our contractors to provide as much information as possible to everyone involved, but if your neighbour does not want to give consent, we do not have any rights (under law) to proceed with the work.