What does level 3 mean for broadband in New Zealand?

Hooray - new fibre broadband connections resume under level 3
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Broadband network providers including Chorus, Enable, Ultrafast Fibre and Northpower have announced that they will resume non-essential fibre installations and build projects when the country moves to Alert Level 3 from 11:59pm next Monday.

Network providers will now be resuming a ‘business as usual’ service under Level 3, with technicians able to visit homes to set up new connections or carry out repair works.

Under Level 4, network providers in NZ were only connecting new fibre broadband for providers or staff of essential services, and customers with no existing fixed-line broadband connections. All other customer connections were deferred until the Alert Level is reduced. Most broadband providers could still upgrade or change customer broadband plans if the change could be managed remotely.

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade to a fibre broadband connection, you can go ahead under Level 3.

Here’s what you need to know about broadband in Level 3:

  • Broadband network providers will resume non-essential services and restart connecting people to fibre broadband.
  • Broadband technicians will resume visits to customer homes, with some steps to ensure everyone’s safety. For example screening calls prior to visiting a home, maintaining physical distancing while in the home, and using PPE in the homes of vulnerable New Zealanders.
  • Network providers will be ramping up their activities, but there will be a backlog as technicians catch up with installations that were deferred during Level 4.
  • If you’re been waiting to upgrade to Fibre broadband, the sooner you sign up for a new plan the better. So take a moment to compare fibre plan and choose the best plan for you.

Compare fibre plans

Chorus to resume fibre installations and build under Covid-19 Alert Level 3

Chorus, is NZ’s largest broadband infrastructure provider, announced that it will resume non-essential fibre installs and UFB build projects nationwide - with strict adherence to safe working practices - once the country moves into Alert Level 3.

Andrew Carroll, Chorus’ General Manager for Network and Customer Operations, says "During Alert Level 4 we continued to safely offer essential fibre installs at a rate of about 500 per week. However even this saw more than half of our 4,000 or so workforce impacted,"

Mr Carroll says, “"We’re pleased to be able to restart work in connecting people to fibre and extending the reach of our fibre network. This is good for customers and it is good for our technicians. We know we can do this safely; the health and safety of our technicians and our customers is front-of-mind for everything we do.

"We make sure our techs are comfortable being in the home and that they are healthy and well. We call ahead and screen the people we are coming to provide service to, we look out for vulnerable New Zealanders, and we use PPE when we are in your bubble. Stringent measures are in place to manage physical distancing and hand washing and we have thorough mechanisms to support contact tracing.

"With retailers continuing to take fibre orders during the lockdown we are aware that there is a backlog of installations to work through. There may be instances where we need to prioritise those most in need as we ramp up capacity and work within the Alert Level 3 restrictions.

"And of course, customers who remain uncomfortable with a technician coming into their bubble are still able to postpone their connection or look at services such as VDSL that we can connect remotely without the need to visit the home."

Enable to resume broadband connecting under Level Three in Christchurch and surrounding areas

Enable, has announced that it will resume connecting most customers to fibre broadband under Alert Level 3 and will continue to adopt important health and safety controls in doing so.

Enable CEO, Steve Fuller said, “"From Tuesday 28 April we are able to resume all the postponed connections activity and we are busy contacting customers to reschedule appointments for as soon as possible."

"We are very conscious that many people waiting for their connection have a heightened need for a fast, reliable fibre broadband service now - as they continue to work from home and their children continue to learn online. We are confident that we can quickly meet the needs of current orders and potential new orders," said Mr Fuller.

Under Alert Level 3, Enable’s field technicians will adhere to strict controls in line with Government recommendations - including physical distancing, hand hygiene, using personal protective equipment inside people’s homes or businesses and contact tracing. The business will also screen customers via phone for COVID-19 cases or symptoms and vulnerable people with higher-risk of severe illness (such as older people or those with underlying medical conditions) and will look to postpone appointments in these cases.

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