Broadband Explained

What is Broadband?

Broadband is high-speed internet access. It is a service that has been predominantly delivered by the copper network across New Zealand, the same network that connects our phone lines. Fibre was introduced in 2011 and is the backbone of the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) network that has faster speeds and more capacity. It has the ability to transform the way we live, socialise, work and play. While fibre is the future of broadband in New Zealand, you can also access the Internet over a copper, wireless or satellite connection.


Fibre allows you to do more online in less time with minimal or no disruptions. This internationally favoured broadband connection uses fibre optic cable, which houses hundreds of strands of fibre to transport huge amounts of data at speeds not seen in any other connection type. Fibre performance doesn’t degrade over distance, so your broadband speed is consistent no matter how near or far your home or business is located from the exchange or cabinet. With fibre plans of 100Mbps or more, you can use multiple devices simultaneously to watch, listen, play, post, work and chat all at the same time without any loss of quality or buffering.


Copper is the original communications network in New Zealand that uses the existing copper phone lines to deliver broadband. Because it uses existing infrastructure it is the most widely available broadband service, but broadband performance over copper can vary a lot, depending on whether your line is VDSL, ADSL2+ or ADSL.

VDSL is the best broadband service available on the copper network. It significantly improves speed over short distances, but you have to be located within around 800m of the cabinet or exchange to take advantage of speeds up to 20Mbps or more. With 7,000 cabinets located throughout New Zealand, nearly two thirds of lines are within reach of VDSL capability.

ADSL2+ delivers speeds of up to 10Mbps to properties located within a 2km radius from a broadband cabinet. It delivers faster speeds but its performance can be influenced by a number of factors like how far away you are from the cabinet, the devices you are using, the quality and age of your modem and your home wiring.

ADSL is the most basic broadband connection available on the copper network. It delivers around 2Mbps for distances up to 6km from the local cabinet. ADSL is mostly found in rural areas where new cabinets are yet to be installed.


Mobile broadband uses a wireless connection between the nearest mobile phone site and your device to access the Internet. You’ll need a data card or modem for your computer and you can connect a tablet to your smartphone, using your phone’s data to get online.


Wireless broadband uses a connection between the nearest wireless broadband transmitter and a wireless broadband modem that connects to your computer. It uses radio waves and operates on a separate network to the mobile phone network.


This is the most effective way to reach remote areas as coverage can extend to anywhere in New Zealand but you will need a satellite dish installed at your property.