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Cabinets rev-up broadband for 7300 in Palmy Nth

NEWS RELEASE: 17 December 2009

Cabinets rev-up broadband for 7300 Palmerston North residents

Chorus, Telecom's network access business, has completed more than a third of its work to rev-up Palmerston North’s broadband network with residents in Roslyn, Terrace End and Hokowhitu among the first to benefit.

The Palmerston North central telephone exchange area is the first to have new roadside cabinets and fibre optic cable deployed in local streets to bring high speed broadband equipment closer to customers. Chorus upgraded 37 roadside cabinets and laid 24kms of new fibre optic cable, to extend ADSL2+ broadband speeds to 7300 residents across these areas.

In all, Chorus plans to upgrade 85 cabinets and deploy about 57kms of fibre optic cable in Palmerston North, building on the 317kms already in the local network. Work is now underway in the West End, Milson and Highbury areas and will continue around Palmerston North through to the end of 2011.

Chorus Fibre-to-the-Node Programme Manager Ed Beattie said each cabinet is the equivalent of a mini telephone exchange.

"The cabinets contain the electronic equipment needed to deliver broadband to homes via Chorus' local telecommunications access network.

"Previously, this equipment would have been housed in the local telephone exchange and the whole reason we're bringing it closer to people is because the closer you are to the equipment the faster your broadband speed is," he said.

Customers within 2km of a new cabinet should be able to connect at faster ADSL2+ broadband speeds subject to other factors including their broadband plan, modem, computer, and the wiring in their home or business. Customers near the local telephone exchange continue to have their broadband service delivered from equipment based there.

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More than 900,000 homes and businesses around New Zealand are already within reach of high speed broadband access via either telephone exchange or cabinet-based ADSL2+ equipment. This represents about 50% of the approximately 1.8 million New Zealand homes and businesses connected by Chorus.

Chorus is installing about 3,600 Whisper cabinets and adding 2,500kms of fibre optic cable to Telecom's existing 23,500kms fibre network to deliver high speed broadband to towns with 500 lines or more by the end of 2011.

Mr Beattie said Chorus’ new cabinets are the result of some world-leading design breakthroughs by Christchurch-based manufacturers.

"These cabinets contain sophisticated electronic equipment, so a lot of work has gone into making them much quieter and more power efficient than anything before them."

Whisper cabinet facts

• Each cabinet costs about $150,000 each and will generally service up to 300 customers

• Cabinet body is made of 240kg of marine grade aluminium

• Cabinets are coated in a special paint to facilitate graffiti removal

• They contain battery back-up power supply as well as a generator connection in case of power-cuts

• At full load a cabinet uses 1200 watts, the same power as a one-bar heater

• They are designed to limit noise to about 30 decibels, just above the level of a whisper

• 650 key parts in each cabinet (1,150 including fastenings)

• 2 tonnes of concrete per cabinet base

The Telecom Group's fibre optic network can be viewed online at www.broadbandmap.govt.nz

Information on Telecom’s faster broadband project can be viewed online at: http://wwwchorus.co.nz/enhancing-the-broadband-network

Attached to this news release is a map which shows the current and future high speed broadband coverage in Palmerston North.

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