Vodafone to defend FibreX charges
Vodafone is disappointed by the approach taken by the Commerce Commission to this case. We disagree with the charges laid by the Commission and welcome the opportunity to defend the naming and marketing of FibreX and reinforce the benefits of this service. We had a vision to provide consumers with an alternative way to receive super-fast reliable broadband that would also be more affordable and offer a better installation experience. We delivered that through a significant investment in our own hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network. We think this type of investment in infrastructure is good for New Zealand. It promotes competition and gives consumers choice, and we are surprised the Commission does not appear to welcome that.
We have been clear in our communications to consumers throughout. In 2017, the Advertising Standards Authority looked into our advertising of FibreX and ruled it was not misleading. They noted that consumers are more interested in the speed than the technology behind their internet service, and that FibreX performs to a comparable standard to other fibre access technologies.
The single biggest pain point our customers are facing is fibre installation delays by local fibre companies, and FibreX offers an alternative for customers who want to avoid these delays while enjoying the benefits of ultra-fast broadband.
For consumers wanting broadband services at the highest available speeds, FibreX represents an extremely competitive option. We are proud of being able to offer this over our own network and this is why we will stand up to the charges.
• What is FibreX? FibreX is ultra-fast broadband that runs on the HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial) network, which uses fibre up to the street cabinet, and then coaxial cable to the home.
• Coaxial and Copper are two different things: FibreX does not run on “old copper.” From the cabinet to the home, FibreX runs on coaxial cable. Coaxial cable is very different from copper, which ADSL and VDSL run on. Copper performance degrades over distance, whereas coaxial cable doesn’t have this problem and supports much higher speeds and greater capacity.
• What was the upgrade to the FibreX network? In a nutshell, the upgrade enhanced speed and capacity, enabling the network to operate at gigabit speeds and ensuring it will be able to provide 10 Gbps in the future. Here’s what we did:
o Fibre section: We upgraded the fibre distribution section of the network with a world-leading fibre optic platform called NG-PON2. This powerful transmission technology fires signals down the fibre optic line as a digital signal, allowing much more data to be sent compared to an analogue signal
o Coaxial section: We effectively supercharged the coaxial cable section from the cabinet to your home with a technology called DOCSIS 3.1, which allows it to carry vastly more data than before