Chorus offers deal to rewire houses for better internet

Package will cost customers $200

Telecom's network arm Chorus is offering to partially rewire houses that are getting poor quality broadband because of substandard wiring — for a fee — at the same time as "future-proofing them" by providing dedicated connections for internet telephones and net-connected televisions. Spokesman Brett Jackson said Chorus would install a "service delivery point" with high-speed internet (Cat5e) cabling for about $200. Customers would order the work to be done through their internet provider. The boxes could benefit people who had poor quality phone lines or connections running into their home or who did not already have a splitter installed to separate internet traffic from voice calls. Broadband modems, phones, home alarms and Sky set-top boxes are often "daisy chained" on to existing phone wiring. The service delivery points, patented by Chorus and manufactured by Palmerston North company Remote Management Systems, provides a single high-quality outlet into which new devices can be directly connected. Broadband users should be able to find out from their internet provider whether they would be likely to be benefit, Mr Jackson said. Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Ernie Newman said a lot of home wiring was in an "appalling state" and welcomed the service. But he said it could be a "grey area" who should pay. Many people were paying fees for wiring maintenance — and even for home phones that they no longer used — as part of their phone bill. However, it might be most practical for homeowners to take responsibility. Mr Jackson said there should be no point in installing the service delivery points in new homes which should have good quality wiring, though Chorus' experience was that wiring in some new homes could be substandard. Wiring maintenance insurance was "a different kettle of fish" because it covered "wear and tear over time". "If something goes wrong with your internal wiring or sockets the cost of repair would be covered." Chorus plans to incorporate batteries into the service points so internet phones will be usable during power cuts. Internet phones are expected to become commonplace by 2020 when the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is due to be phased out.

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