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1769 posts

Uber Geek


  #1995580 13-Apr-2018 15:44
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I suspect this is more related to how its sold, not what the product name is.  I have no doubt the CC has countless complaints from people being told by salespeople they were getting fibre all the way to their home. The irony of it is that most of those people are probably unhappy with their speed due to the crappy placement of their wifi router and a spectrum fully saturated, but they blame the FibreX innocent

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Biddle Corp
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  #1995601 13-Apr-2018 16:05
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The letter X is commonly used in the English language at the end of a word or brand to define a crossover or hybrid technology. In this case FibreX is a fibre hybrid technology and the description fits that perfectly.



So CopperX could also describe the HFC then.





Look at the example of BT Infinity I posted above. That's FTTN but is sold as Fibre internet.




216 posts

Master Geek


  #1995606 13-Apr-2018 16:21
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<snip> most of those people are probably unhappy with their speed due to the crappy placement of their wifi router and a spectrum fully saturated </snip>



Yeah, definitely a lot of that these days. The UltraHub's got beam forming which helps for the 5G band, but 2.4G is a mess in loads of homes. Once upon a time the ADSL connection was the slowest link in the chain, now it's all about WiFi and the device (ever tried getting Gig fibre speeds on an iPad2?).


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  #1995613 13-Apr-2018 16:37
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It's clearly a duplicitous marketing trick... BT pulling the same stunt doesn't make it ok - but perhaps that's where they got the idea. Why not keep calling it cable broadband, which is what everybody else calls it.

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Master Geek

  #1995653 13-Apr-2018 17:06
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Excellent news.


I'm only surprised it took them this long. As I have opined elsewhere, VF's advertising goes well beyond puffery and is blatantly and deliberately deceptive. This has been complained about for some time, and VF has steadfastly refused to change. What they have been doing is pretty close to outright fraud.


I hope they get spanked for this, and don't just get away with a minor fine, and a promise to change their advertising and "review their practices" and not do it again.


I also think that if the Commission succeed in its prosecution then anyone on a FibreX term contract would have have a string case for existing early without penalty, and potentially getting all or some of what they had paid for the service refunded, on the basis that VF had deliberately duped them into purchasing a misrepresented product.


I'm likely moving house soon. With conduct like this, it's fair to say I won't be considering VF as a service provider at my new address.





I doubt they'll ever learn.


They get a fine every few years due to their marketing deceptive behavior.

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Uber Geek

  #1995672 13-Apr-2018 17:46
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If FibreX is legit, can I sell DSL as FibreL? Or wireless fibre as Fibre4G/FibreMobile?


Oh, or FibreWave if it's a fibre fed microwave link?



Sky should totally start selling SkyFibre/FibreSky. I'm sure there's fibre in the transmit pipeline somewhere right?



Or even better, dialup as DialedFibre!


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Ultimate Geek

  #1995684 13-Apr-2018 18:27
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A friend of mine has FibreX, she thought she had fibre broadband till I pointed out it wasn't actually fibre..

I had the exact conversation with a friend of mine yesterday who works in IT as a consultant. Wasn't aware that he didn't have fibre.


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  #1995702 13-Apr-2018 19:50
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The letter X is commonly used in the English language at the end of a word or brand to define a crossover or hybrid technology. In this case FibreX is a fibre hybrid technology and the description fits that perfectly.


I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Commerce Commission legal action actually fails. They have had to work hard to build a case and even convince themselves that they could get a prosecution. Some of that has some from asking consumers if they believe they were mislead into thinking they were getting fibre rather than looking at whether the term itself is misleading.


Vodafone have plenty to defend themselves with and plenty of case law and examples of "fibre" products globally. 


Anybody care to answer what type of product BT Infinity is without cheating and Googling it first?












Cannot agree. Its about the mass consumer. FibreX means fibre. The X from a mass consumer POV means premium, maybe better than fibre, maybe just a brand, but at least I know its fibre. VDSL could be seen as FibreX. Its delivered via fibre on the network to copper last mile. ADSL could also be termed FibreX for the same reason. Geekzone-esque subscribers are not affected, its the mass market that may have been swayed from any other RSP to FibreX as the deal was quite good and its fibre. Whether the end user experience is very average, or good, or great, doesnt matter, its misleading and the effect is on the user and the other true fibre providers. 

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  #1995704 13-Apr-2018 19:56
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Reading Vodafone's response.


an alternative way.  Yes it is an alternative way, but ITS NOT FIBRE


We think this type of investment in infrastructure is good for New Zealand. Isnt it just ChCh and Welly? Or is it throughout NZ now?


They noted that consumers are more interested in the speed than the technology. Yes, so call it HFC a great alternative, not FIBRE

5436 posts

Uber Geek

  #1995745 13-Apr-2018 21:31
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Glad to see this happening, but the "to" date is a bit strange. Last month? Have they stopped selling it?


As I said, I wouldn't go near it myself. A pity as you used to be the envy of the street being on cable.


Also the fibre rollout in Chch was officially "paused" in 2001 after the merger of Telstra Saturn and Clear - it never resumed (I know because I was working there at the time). Auckland was next on the list to get cable, but it never happened, and never will now.

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Master Geek
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  #1995789 14-Apr-2018 00:05
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I'd like to applaud ComCom for taking action. Vodafone's behaviour is reminiscent of Telecom & Theresa Gattung.

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  #1995835 14-Apr-2018 00:29
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Vodafone's problem - "Fibre" is now a generic catchphrase so they start selling "FibreX"


What to do when a state-sponsored initiative spends a lot of money to ensure that most people can get "fibre" broadband? The word "fibre" becomes a catchphrase, a generic term that is a defacto standard. Most people don't know what it really stands for. Most people wouldn't know how to tell whether they have it or not. Many people don't actually need it. But it is the term you need to use. Maybe people will only buy or rent a house or apartment if it has that magic word "fibre".


I think that Vodafone is doing much the same as many other businesses do in a similar situation. Vodafone have a useful product at a competitive price but it's not exactly the same as the generic catchphrase. So they chose a name with sufficient similarity that they have a chance of competing on price and performance rather than on the generic catchphrase being used. This is similar to all those companies that started adding "i" to indicate that their products or services (e.g. iPlumber) are as good as the iPod and iPhone. It's also similar to the many companies using words like "green" and "environmentally friendly" when their products are not really.


So I'd be surprised if the Commerce Commission can change the name.


My problem - I want a fibre connection to future-proof but Vodafone only offer me FibreX


As Vodafone have a policy of not offering UFB where FibreX is available, they're forcing me to chose another company if I want to ensure that I get the fibre connection. I'm not sure whether this business practice is one that the Commerce Commission will try to stop, as they usually try to stop companies unfairly gaining new customers rather than stopping them from losing their own customers.


This problem could have been avoided if the UFB rollout required access to UFB to be provided without discrimination, i.e. if Vodafone offer it anywhere then they have to offer it everywhere it is available. It makes sense that the UFB rollout doesn't require this because it would create some other problems for companies who also have to transition from other technologies, not just from cable but from ADSL, VDSL, cabinets, and whatever else is out there.


My one main reason for not getting FibreX is that I want to have the fibre connection to my house for future-proofing. I'm also concerned about the risk of it become more difficult or more expensive to connect to UFB in the future when the national rollout is complete. Another reason for not getting FibreX is that I have to commit to a 24 month term and I don't want to have to pay expensive break fees if I find that I actually need a better performing connection.

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Uber Geek

  #1995860 14-Apr-2018 07:20
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Is a 24 month contract for cable the norm now? If you have everything installed, can you not just get it for a month?


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Uber Geek

  #1995897 14-Apr-2018 09:08
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The second issue I have with this is that historically ever since Telstra bought Saturn (and then all the subsequent company iterations) the network has been under invested in. Telstra was never fully committed to the platform (hence why the Christchurch rollout stopped half way through Christchurch) and expensive upgrades were only ever done once the flood of customer complaints became unbearable. I would find it quite unlikely that Vodafone will significantly invest capital in a network that is both being overbuilt and is at the effective tail end of its usefulness. FTTH/GPON can easily migrate to 10GE PON, DWDM PON etc in the future. HFC has very little room for improvement and no networking company that has shareholders expecting a return would do anything but sweat the asset to the last possible moment. This means people who are fooled into thinking they are on the wonderful new national fibre network will have a service that significantly degrades (as has happened many times) over time.



We actually invested a whole lot of money into the network to upgrade it, including deploying both DOCSIS3.1 and NG-PON2, which means the network can now run at gigabit speeds. And like FTTH/GPON, the NG-PON2 we're on has a path to 10GE. Bear in mind there's a lot of cable networks deployed worldwide - there is plenty of investment and R&D going into getting faster and faster speeds on HFC.



And full symmetrical up and down link. 

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Uber Geek

  #1995916 14-Apr-2018 09:39
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Its about time, calling an HFC network "Fibre X" is a blatant attempt to confuse the general public into thinking they will get a FTTH fibre service when they re getting a co-ax copper service. If the Vodafone marketing was in any way valid then nearly all xDSL services could be called "Fibre Z" as the DSLAM/MSAN is almost always fibre fed.



I actually don't see anything confusing about the FibreX product.





And does the average customer have the same knowledge and expertise as you do?



I am only an "average" customer but I knew that "Fibre X" wasn't the "real" Fibre simply because Chorus hadn't even laid fibre in our area when Vodafone had been advertising Fibre X was in our street for a long time. And, to install "Fibre X" doesn't require all the consents and time delays that are involved with real Fibre.


I don't condone the use of the term "Fibre X" by Vodafone, but I doubt whether anyone who did even a small of amount of research into it could have been fooled by Vodafone's advertising.





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