I was at a CIO event Monday night, and got talking to a guy from Vector. He told me his company plans to put all overhead power lines in Auckland and Wellington below ground within 8 years. Within my own suburb - First World, here we come! - the timetable is within 2 years. While it's digging trenches in established suburbs, Vector could also lay some fibre optic cable, and indeed this is on the agenda, but not with so firm a timetable. With new subdivisions, Vector is among those vying to lay fibre (as is Telecom; here).
I hope fibre optic cable does come to my street.
Nothing beats fibre, whose bandwidth doesn't weaken with distance, as copper does, sharply.
Meanwhile, back in my copper cable reality, this week an ISP made the tantalising offer of providing me with ADSL2+ after, sadly, discovering that, like most, I'm too far from my local phone exchange (i.e. more than 1km away) for VDSL, rolling out from June.
Apparantly the copper cable in my street is just too crummy for ADSL2+ to render more than a "modest a best" speed boost (which I could already guess, given the slug-like performance of my DSL account).
To summarise, fact fans, the official copper foodchain now goes like this:
Dial-up: now with less than 50% market share. You know how slow it is.
DSL: Providing up to 7Mbit/s download and 700Kbit/s up, if you're within 6km of an exchange, the copper in your street is in good knick, not too many people are jamming up the net, and the lunar cycle is right.
ADSL2+: Revving to up to 24Mbit/s download and 1Mbit/s up, with the same provisos as DSL. Increasingly available, from Telecom (check the latest roll-out map here), and from Orcon and Vodafone (now incorporating the company formerly known as ihug) as they install their own gear in unbundled exchanges.
VDSL: Up to 250Mbit/s download if you live on top of an exchange (and up to 24Mbit/s upload); 100Mbit/s at 500m; 50Mbit/s at 1km, then after 1.5km similar to ADS2+. You mush live close enough to one of the Telecom exchanges that Vodafone plans to goose with VDSL during the second half of the year (more on Vodafone's plans here, and Telecom's govt imposed mandate to roll-out VDSL or equivalent-speed tech here).