Nokia, Chorus partner on GPON fibre and VDSL2 technology

Nokia has extended its five-year contract with Chorus to provide fibre and copper network tech across all of the telco's broadband assets, including the UFB.

Nokia has announced extending its contract with network provider Chorus to update its broadband infrastructure across New Zealand by incorporating fibre-based Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology and VDSL2 copper network technology.

The copper- and fibre-based technologies will be supplemented by Nokia's new IP routing and optical carrier transport services for extra scalability and capacity.

"Chorus is building an industry-leading broadband network that will support New Zealand's future digital innovations and economic developments," said Ray Owen, managing director of Nokia Oceania.

"We're excited to be a part of that evolution, and are working hard to ensure our technology expertise and innovations in ultra-broadband access, routing, and transport continue to help Chorus achieve that vision."

The three-year extension builds on the original contract signed between Chorus and Alcatel-Lucent prior to Nokia's €15.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. The five-year managed services contract between the two was announced in October last year, with Alcatel-Lucent to monitor and analyse Chorus' fibre and copper networks.

According to Chorus' chief commercial officer Tim Harris, demand for both fibre and copper broadband is continuing to grow thanks to the increased usage of high-bandwidth applications such as video-streaming services.

"Demand for ultra fast broadband data services is increasing at a staggering pace. Fibre connections especially are growing strongly, most at 100Mbps or more. VDSL2 connections are also increasing, with average speeds now exceeding 50Mbps," Harris said.

"The Chorus network must be able support these speeds all the time and provide a sustained performance level at any time of day. Therefore, ensuring our networks can continue to scale and accommodate future bandwidth growth whilst remaining congestion free is essential. Nokia's expertise and industry leading fixed access, IP routing, and transport solutions ensure we can meet this demand whilst reducing cost per bit."

Under the extended contract, Nokia will deliver its Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) fibre-to-the-node (FttN) access node, ISAM FX high-capacity fibre platform, and ISAM SX-16 VDSL2 micro-node. Its IP routing and optical transport tech involves use of its Service Router, Extensible Routing System (XRS) Routing Technology, Photonic Service Switch (PSS), and Service Aware Manager.

Nokia will also provide end-to-end network design, integration, testing, and operation support.

The deals cover both Chorus' legacy networks, as well as the infrastructure being built out by the telco for the New Zealand government's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative.

Chorus in February provided an update on the rollout of the UFB, saying it had completed seven of its 24 rollout areas.

"We are almost halfway through the UFB rollout, and continue to activate our planned network areas on schedule," the telco said in its financial results report for the first half of FY16.

"Build work had been finished for about 400,000 premises across our UFB areas at 31 December, meaning approximately 539,000 consumers could connect to our ultra-fast broadband."

Chorus spent NZ$90 million on rolling out the UFB during the six-month period, with cost per premises passed sitting at NZ$1,643.

The UFB was originally planned to provide minimum speeds of 100Mbps up/50Mbps down to 75 percent of the population, but has since been increased to reach 80 percent of the population, with the remaining 20 percent set to be connected to wireless mobile broadband under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), which will provide download speeds of 50Mbps by 2020.

By the end of calendar 2019, 97.8 percent of the NZ population will be covered by either the UFB or the RBI.

As of February, Chorus also had 1.223 million total broadband connections, consisting of 74,000 basic unbundled bitstream access (UBA) services; 7,000 naked basic UBA; 763,000 enhanced UBA; 128,000 naked enhanced UBA; 94,000 VDSL; 45,000 naked VDSL; and 112,000 fibre services.

Chorus itself reported a net profit of NZ$33 million for the period, a decline of 48.4 percent, on revenue of NZ$479 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of NZ$275 million.

Nokia's financial results for the first quarter of 2016 saw a loss of €613 million on a €304 million EBITDA loss following its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.