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There are a range of broadband technologies to suit different needs and locations

This guide aims to help you understand the difference between copper, ADSL, VDSL, cable and fibre connections, and learn about other technologies for accessing the internet.


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What type of user are you?

When selecting a broadband plan, consider which category your usage falls into, taking in to account your future usage needs.

Heavy use

Email, web browsing, social media and frequent media streaming, larger file uploads and downloading in addition to multiple device usage.

Medium use

Email, web browsing, social media, some media streaming, gaming and file downloading.

Light use

Email, web browsing, social media.

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Fibre (UFB) - heavy use

Fibre broadband uses fibre-optic cable to deliver 'ultra-fast broadband' (UFB) to New Zealand.

Fibre cable delivers broadband speeds up to 20 times faster than the copper network. With fibre you can use multiple devices at the same time without any loss of quality or buffering. Unlike copper lines, fibre performance doesn’t degrade over distance. This means that no matter how near or far you are from the exchange, the speed is consistent.


Learn more about fibre

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Copper - medium to heavy use


VDSL (Very high bit rate digital subscriber line) is a newer technology which also uses copper telephone wires, but delivers a faster connection speed. It was developed to support the high bandwidth requirements of high definition TV (HDTV), streaming and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connections.


ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) is widely available and used by most New Zealanders today. It uses copper telephone wires for transmitting data, audio and video at a high bandwidth. Unlike dial-up, with ADSL you can make telephone calls and use the internet simultaneously.

Copper broadband speeds

Find out the broadband speed available in your area using the National Broadband Map. Chorus also provide a check your broadband connection service on their website.

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Mobile - light to medium use

All mobile phone networks currently support 3G technology and 4G technology. The 5G network will begin to be rolled out in New Zealand in 2020.

Mobile broadband can be accessed through smart phones, tablets and laptops. The speed of access is dependent on the technology used by the network and the strength of the mobile signal when it is in use.

It is best for light to medium use.

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Other broadband technologies

You can also use cable, satellite, wireless broadband and public WiFi to access the internet.


This type of broadband uses a cable installed into your home rather than telephone lines. It provides faster speeds than ADSL and VDSL.

Cable supports high bandwidth requirements. Service providers offer different packages at different speeds, depending on your requirements.

Cable is only available within the areas of Wellington, Christchurch and Kapiti. Use the National Broadband Map to check whether you can get cable at your address.



Broadband is delivered via a satellite to a dish on or near the consumer's home. It is useful in remote locations though reception can depend on weather conditions and natural obstructions such as hills. It is best for light to medium use.


Wireless Broadband

Wireless broadband, also known as Fixed Wireless, enables home and business users to obtain high-speed data access through the airwaves, without relying on any physical connection.

Typically, wireless broadband devices connect over cellular networks, but other technologies such as radio waves can be used, dependent on network provider and local coverage area.

Wireless broadband is recommended as an upgrade from a standard ADSL broadband connection, in areas which have sufficient cellular coverage and capacity, or coverage from a local wireless network over radio frequencies.


Public WiFi

Public WiFi better known as hotspots are offered by a range of providers including cafes and councils. Hotspots are usually located in busy areas such as airports, train stations and other public places. Each hotspot only covers a small area. Public WiFi can be accessed through smart phones, tablets and laptops. It is best for light to medium use.

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Looking for something else?

Choosing a plan

Know what to consider when choosing a broadband plan.

Find out more

Why switch to fibre?

How fibre broadband is changing the way we live, work and play.

Find out more

Find Available Services

Use online tools to help you work out what telecommunications services you can get at your address.

Find out more

Rural Broadband

Learn about the Rural Broadband Initiative and what it means for rural communities.

Find out more

Last Modified On Friday, 5 July 2019