Looking at technology through the eyes of an aspie in Auckland.

New Year's Resolution: ultra-fast broadband

, posted: 8-Jan-2014 21:44

Just eight days ago we celebrated New Year's eve. My resolution for 2014 was that our home would get ultra-fast broadband this year. Last year we noticed Chorus laying the fibre optic cabling in our street. Philosophically I'm more "leading edge" rather than "bleeding edge" with my technology choices. I tend to leave it to others to find the pitfalls and caveats of the latest tech, but I don't like to be left too far behind, and I'm probably still streaks ahead of the vast majority. That's why we didn't get our fibre connected to the home straight away.

Although many vendors are still on holiday, with call centres maintaining a skeleton staff, I decided to make a start early in the new year towards getting UFB at home. Our ISP is Orcon currently, and we're using their naked ADSL2+ service with an Orcon Genius VoIP router for our home phone and broadband connection. Currently I'm satisfied with the service we've been getting from Orcon, and I intend to subscribe to Orcon's UFB offering. We're looking at getting the 30GB monthly data plan for $75 per month. This will include free national toll calls (up to 1hr/call) to keep wifey happy. Our current ADSL2+ plan is only 5GB monthly data and the free national toll calls for $75 per month. The change to UFB will give us more data capacity, faster download speeds, the same free toll calls, and all at the same price we're paying now. Sounds like a good deal!

Our request for service was passed on from Orcon to Chorus, who came back stating that our UFB installation will take approximately 2-3 months to process, as we live down a right-of-way (ROW) or in a multi-dwelling-unit (MDU) and they need to obtain legal permission from the other landowners. Fair enough. Makes me glad that I started getting the ball rolling early in the new year. I have requested that in the meantime they investigate whether there is a spare conduit installed beside the conduit of our existing copper cable. Our flat is serviced from a plinth that is fed from an 8-pair copper cable which joins the D-side cable in our street. I'm hoping that if there is a spare duct, they can expedite the FTTP installation, because the copper can be left in situ without it affecting the neighbouring flats.

Comment by nzsouthernman, on 9-Jan-2014 11:40

Keen to hear how things progress for you.  I'd recommend going for a bigger cap if you can build it into your budget, as you'll be amazed at how you fritter the data away as it gets faster & more reliable to use. :)

Comment by Sideface, on 9-Jan-2014 21:57

I am confused - why do you need UFB if you only use 5GB of data per month?
Even your proposed 30GB per month data cap seems low - at UFB speeds you can very easily use 30GB in a day.
Ask yourself whether you really want to go to all this trouble if you are a very light user.

FYI I am on the Orcon Genius unlimited ADSL2 plan for $99 per month and typically use 300-500GB per month - so UFB would suit me very well.
I will upgrade to UFB as soon as it becomes available - but that may take years.

Good luck with your upgrade :)

Author's note by Frittmann, on 10-Jan-2014 08:46

Thanks for the comments, you've both brought up an excellent point. As I mentioned briefly in this blog's blurb, I'm not rich. Sometimes our budget can stretch to buying a new gadget, a one-off purchase, but committing to an ongoing monthly expense is not easy. My data use has had to be limited by our budget. When we first went to Orcon's naked ADSL2+ service, I had the choice of 30GB data or 5GB data and free national toll calls. To keep wifey happy, I chose the 5GB plan so that she could keep in contact with her relatives in the South Island.

I'm not a gamer or heavy Internet user. The UFB will allow us to watch YouTube videos on our Viera Cast enabled Freeview DVB-T device. It's probably not a good argument for getting UFB, but if we can have it at the same price we're paying now for ADSL, then why not?

Comment by ajw, on 10-Jan-2014 10:20

You can get free national toll calls here.  www.callzero.co.nz as previous posters have mentioned get the highest data cap possible as you said you will be watching you tube.

Author's note by Frittmann, on 10-Jan-2014 11:36

One thing I forgot to mention is that wifey is rather technophobic, so I doubt she would be keen on using CallZero, but thanks for the suggestion. Free national calling and 30GB data on UFB is still better than our current 5GB data with free national calling on ADSL2+ at the same price. If another ISP can offer us more data per month, free national toll calls (with a standard telephone handset/IP phone, and not just Skype from the PC) all for the same $75 per month, we'd certainly look into it. For now though, I think we'll be quite happy with Orcon's 30GB offering. The biggest thing I download from the net is the latest Linux distro's, and that doesn't happen very often.

Comment by LionSoftware, on 10-Jan-2014 16:39

Hi Frittmann,   I am another Orcon user. Like you , even with watching several TVNZ on-demand videos, our typical use is about 10 GB/month.   Last year the basic Orcon Genius plan upgraded from 5GB/Free National calls to 30GB/Free National Calls. You should be able to contact Orcon and upgrade your existing plan to 30GB for free, still with Free national calls at the same price.
Hope this helps,


Author's note by Frittmann, on 10-Jan-2014 23:12

Hi Gregory, thanks for that. Seems Orcon forgot to mention the free upgrade to me last year. I have requested an upgrade to 30GB data per month on my current ADSL2+ account until the UFB installation is completed. They were going to give it to me anyway with the UFB, and the 2-3 month delay is not our fault, so they have agreed to alter our data cap from the next monthly billing period. I wonder how many other existing Orcon customers are still straddled with the old 5GB plan?

Comment by techmeister, on 12-Jan-2014 01:15

Isn't it $75 a month  plus $10 for national calling?

Author's note by Frittmann, on 12-Jan-2014 19:25

You're right techmeister, that is what is currently on offer on the Orcon website. The offer I took up back in 2012 included 5GB data and free national toll calls for $75 per month. Since then they apparently upped the data cap to 30GB including the free national calls. Now they are offering me the same package (30GB and free national toll calls) on UFB for $75 per month. I don't know what the story is with their website, but I'll be expecting the free national toll calls as part of the $75 per month, as offered.

Author's note by Frittmann, on 14-Jan-2014 11:47

UPDATE: My data cap has now been upgraded to 30GB per month, while I continue to wait for UFB. Thanks Orcon!

Comment by maslink, on 16-Jan-2014 13:43

Good luck with the upgrade - we've found fibre to be far more consistent than xDSL so I agree that if it's the same price then it's worth it even if you don't use a huge amount of data every month. Also, you might as well get in while they are still doing free installs.One small note of caution though is that streaming video sites (such as YouTube) will detect the faster connection, and you'll find that you end up watching HD streams more often, leading to higher bandwidth usage...but if you're currently managing with a 5GB cap, then the increase to 30GB should cope for the short term, and you can always increase it later. 

Author's note by Frittmann, on 17-Jan-2014 11:37

Thanks for the advice maslink, I'll keep an eye out for that.

UPDATE: It seems that I automatically lost my free national calling on 13-Jan when they upped my data cap to 30GB. I have raised this issue with the Orcon accounts team and they are investigating it, advising that it will take 3-5 working days. A good thing I keep an eye on my bill!

Author's note by Frittmann, on 23-Jan-2014 14:56

UPDATE: My free national toll calling has been restored. Orcon advise that it was a computer glitch which caused the free national calling to be dropped when they increased my data cap. All fixed, and assurances made that when we get UFB we will still retain our free national calling as it is at present.

Comment by Brad, on 28-Jan-2014 12:50

 So, at present we are paying more than we should be (in international comparisons) for inferior infrastructure (ADSL). Now they want us to pay more to bring us up to (or close to) international standards. Yeah, right! 

Frittmann's profile

Robert Frittmann
New Zealand

Technology is often an attractive interest for those of us at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Temple Grandin, perhaps the world's best-known person with autism, says that Silicon Valley companies are filled with people with Asperger's syndrome.¹ I was officially diagnosed as an adult with Asperger's in 2011, but I've been fixated on high-tech and computers for over 30 years before then. I'm a maker, a hacker, and a geek from before the time when geeks became cool.

In this blog I'll be documenting some of the uses I put my own technology acquisitions to. I have a wide variety of gadgets to play with at home already, including various computers, laptops, network devices (wired and wireless), gaming consoles, smartphones and other mobile devices, ebook readers, MP3 players, a digital voice recorder, and home theatre equipment. We're not rich, but my wife generously indulges my gadget-mania whenever we can afford a new piece of tech.

Sometimes I come up with unusual uses for my tech, as a result of the creativity inherent of Asperger's. I often push my devices to their limits and try to make them do things that the majority of users wouldn't even attempt. I hope this blog may provide inspiration to others, or at the very least, allow my readers to avoid having to make the same mistakes I make when experimenting with technology.

¹ Source: http://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/temple-grandin-on-happy-aspies-autism-and-startups.html