Tips for your upgrade to Fibre Broadband

So you have seen all the deals you can get on fibre but have also heard that a lot of people have been unhappy with the way it looks after is has been installed or have people told you that the speeds are no different or actually worse than before it was installed? 

As most houses getting fibre are pre-existing houses the local fibre company (LFC for short) have to get the micro ducting from the street into your house, this means that they may have to trench, install via your fence line or in some areas around the country they may do it via overhead lines. If you do a quick google search for bad fibre installs you will see a lot of people that have had a shocking quality fibre install experience and then they have had to spend a lot of time and effort in getting it sorted or in some cases have just chosen to live with it. 

If you live in an area with fibre broadband on the street then we fully recommend taking advantage of it as it will improve your speeds and also enable you to take advantage of more online services. This is often a free install and should add value to your house especially when it comes to selling as it means the new owners know that it is there and good to go. 

Steps for getting fibre installed: 

1. Call your Internet Service Provider and ask them to upgrade you to fibre, they will then place an order with your Local Fibre Company.

2. You will get an email or a call from your Local Fibre Company to set up a time for one of their Fibre Planning technicians to come to your property and discuss the best path they can see to get the fibre from the street to your house, and the methods they will need to use to do it (See below for some info on these).  You will also have the option to book in the install date as these can sometimes be a few weeks out in some areas.  *the planning appointment is normally a 2 hour window so they may not be there on the exact time you choose.  

3. They will also need to talk to you about installing some equipment on the outside called an ETP (External Test Point) and inside of your house and also plan on how they can get the fibre from the external location to the internal location where they will install an ONT (Optical Network Terminal) on the inside of your house. This is key that you get this installed in an area that is central to all other part of the house as you modem will need to be plugged into this box in most cases and if it isn't in a central location then you may not get WiFi in all areas of your house. 

4. Once you have signed the plan off with the technician he will then send this to the Local Fibre Company for approval and you should be booked in for the install already so you just need to make sure that you or someone over the age of 18 is there for the 4 hour booking time. The external part of the work (also know as the civils) will be completed by a special crew before your install booking as this is a more efficient way of doing things, the booking that you have booked in is for the internal part of the install and when the technician leave your house you will be on fibre unless there are any issues.   

Examples of the equipment to be installed: 

Fibre ONT and a modem from an Internet Company

External Termination Point (ETP) for Enable fibre


Tips that can help avoid the ugly installs at your place: 

  • Research the methods that your local fibre company uses to get the fibre from the street to your house, by know the options that they use you can then try to work out the one they are likely to use at your house and start thinking of the best route from the street to the external entry point of your house.


  • Decide on a few places for the external entry point that are out of sight is possible as the fibre company need to install a small white box on the outside of your house, this is call an ETP (External Termination Point) each fibre company uses different ones so some can be bigger than others. see example ETP above.

  • Choose a central location for the ONT that is going to be easy to access in the event your internet stops working as there are lights on the ONT that will help your Internet provider diagnose the issue, it is tempting to have an ONT installed in the roof space but you will likely find that most Local Fibre Companies will not let it be installed there for the reasons above and the fact that the temperatures in the roof space fluctuate a lot during the year and this is bad for electronics.

  • The location for the ETP needs to be close to the area you want the modem installed as they need to run a piece of fibre from the ETP to the inside location of the ONT (Optical Network Terminal) and in a lot of existing houses they have to come down the walls so this can result in capping being installed on your internal walls, this stand out but can be painted to try and hide it a bit and sometime the installers can drop the fibre duct down though the existing wall cavity. 

Check out the most popular methods used by the Local Fibre Companies below:

Fence line install method:

Fence line installs are a great option to avoid having to trench up your garden or driveway and are an popular choice for the Local Fibre Companies as they can be done quickly and for less cost that other options a lot of the time. 

​The technicians will install the duct on the bottom rail if it is on your side of the fence, if not then they will install it as per the image to the right, this is because they are not allowed to cause any trespass issues with access the fibre duct in the future. 

The biggest down side to them is that you can see the black fibre duct so it can stand out a bit on some types of fences, the other issue is that if you need to replace the fence in the future you will need to get the Local Fibre Company out to remove the duct and then re-install it on the new fence or bury it. 

Some Local Fibre Companies may charge to do this so it will all add to the cost of replacing the fence and you have to try and coordinate the technician timing to work in with your fencing contractor.   

Soft surface trenching:

This is a great option if you have a garden or lawn that goes from the street to the house.

The fibre technicians will use a terrasaw (that many people liken to a chainsaw) that cuts the grass and makes a small trench (approx 300mm deep) to lay the micro duct into.

The duct they install has a strong outer layer that protects the fibre inside it from damage when a spade or shovel accidentally hits it.  

The fibre contractors will then back fill the hole and if it is across your lawn they will throw down some grass seed so overtime you won't even notice it.

Example of a soft surface trench after install


If you have a particular type of grass growing make sure you tell the  technician that does the planning (or scoping) appointment that you don't want them to use their seed as that planning technician will need to note that on the fibre install plan. 

Slot cutting hard in surfaces (also know as micro trenching):

This is a great option if the fibre has to go from the street to your house via a asphalt or other hard surface. 

The technician will use a concrete saw to cut a thin, shallow trench (no wider than 20mm) and bury our fibre cable just below the surface. 

They will then use a filler to reinstate the slot cut and in some cases you can hardly see where they have been.

Down side to this option is that if you are planning on replacing the hard surface where the fibre is buried you will need to get the Local Fibre Company to come out and remove the fibre duct and then bury it into a trench, there maybe a charge to do this so check with them first. 

This option is not normally able to be used up a shared driveway with more than 3 houses on it because the trench is to small to safely fit the fibre ducts into it. 

This method can't be used in instances where the asphalt or concrete is of poor condition so consider this when choosing a proposed trench path.

Full width trenching in hard surfaces:

This option is the most invasive but if you live up a shared drive way with a few other properties then this is likely the only way to get fibre to all the houses. 

As you can see from the picture on the right this option will stand out as they will have to dig a trench that is 500mm wide and normally about 300mm-400mm deep.  

Full width trench in hard surface

This method is required in instances where the asphalt or concrete is of poor condition and can not be slot cut or if there are more than 3 houses up a shared driveway.

The technician will use a concrete saw to cut the top layer of the hard surface away and then use machinery to dig the trench for the fibre ducts to be installed in. They will then install the required number of ducts into the trench and leave 1 sticking up for each house as they pass them going up the driveway, most Local Fibre Companies will do this even if the owner of the house hasn't ordered as it saves trenching again in the future.  

They will then back fill the hole and reinstate the area, if you have an exposed aggregate concrete driveway this is normally reinstated with standard concrete or asphalt so consider this when looking at the trench paths.  

This is also a good option if you are planning on replacing the area where the trench is going in the future as you should be able to replace it without disturbing the fibre buried in the trench

Underground thrusting:

This maybe and option when there is no other viable way to get the fibre from the street to your house. 

Underground thrusting  is entirely dependent on a few variables (including the ground conditions, surface features and tress, among other variables). 

It involves thrusting the cable underground, leaving the surface undisrupted, however there is a chance that other ground services could be hit while thrusting  is taking place and you may not know about it until you have a blocked sewer at some stage in the future. 

If thrusting up a driveway there still may need to be some small pothole trenches made depending on the distance, this means that if you have an asphalt driveway you will end up with patches where they dig down to realign the drill bit. 

From our experience this is only a good option in areas that have good clean spoil without rocks to knock the drill out track and where you also know the location of all the other services. 

Underground trench drilling machine
Example of area that has been reinstated after thrusting

Other types of installs:

Aerial: If your copper phone and broadband services are delivered via an aerial cable, some Local Fibre Companies may be able to bring your fibre cable in the same way. . *Note that this is not used by Enable in Christchurch. 

Existing duct  If your copper phone and broadband services are currently connected via an existing underground pipe to your property some of the Local Fibre Companies maybe able to use this duct if it is in good condition.  

Proactive lead in duct:

If you are in a new house then the builder should have arranged for a red or green duct to be installed from the street to the external entry point of your house, the Local Fibre Company can then use this to get the fibre to the house. 

Tip: If you are replacing your driveway call your Local Fibre Company to see if they can drop off a Proactive Lead In Duct, some will do this for free others will have a fee. In most cases you will need to provide the trench at your own cost.

If you need more advice book an appointment with us so we can pop over and have a chat.


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