Wiring homes for broadband

Ensure you deliver home wiring that makes the most of the new ultra-fast broadband network for your clients. Poor home wiring is one of the leading factors impacting on broadband performance. Cat6 cabling installed in a star wiring configuration is ideal.

Cable Installation Requirements 

To ensure availability of services throughout your client's home, these minimum standards have been developed by the industry though the Telecommunication Carriers Forum:

  • Cabling must be ‘star configuration
  • A star wiring (home distributor) box needs to be located at the ‘star point’ to provide cross-connect and testing facilities
  • This star point must be internal, accessible and ideally located just above the External Termination Point (ETP) position. The star point will typically be set into the side wall of a utility room or garage.
  • The home distributor box must be large enough to house devices such as a router and video splitter. It must also have integrated power sockets for these devices
  • Cables to be a minimum specification of Cat6 (UTP) and Tri-Shield RG6 Coax
  • Run two Cat6 cables and two RG6 from the home distributor to each outlet position
  • Run four Cat6 cables and four RG6 from the home distributor to the main TV position
  • Leave at least 300mm of cable slack at each outlet
  • Run at least one Cat6 cable plus one 20mm duct from the home distributor box to the ETP. Leave at least 500mm of cable slack at the ETP
  • Cable through the wall at the ETP must be protected within a short length of plastic pipe
  • Make sure all clearances between communication cables and power cables are maintained. See the TCF Premises Wiring Code of Practice for more detail on the segregation of services.

Although Cat5 standard wiring may be sufficient to meet the bandwidth demands of current telecommunications services,  but we now recommend Cat6 cabling to future proof the building, or consider installing cabling in ducting – refer to the TCF ‘Premises Wiring Code of Practice’ for more information.

Star wiring 

We have developed some suggested approaches to home wiring based on standard house layouts.

The guide takes you through three options:

  • Optimal star wiring configuration
  • Star wiring with voice delivered via the RGW
  • Rewiring options for an existing home

Double click on the step by step guide to view the images.


You should be able to source OptiC@t hybrid cable from any electrical wholesale outlets such as Active Electrical, Cory's, Ideal, JA Russell Ltd, Radcliff Electrical, Redpaths or Scott Electrical.

Recommended outlets 

  • At least two RJ45 type jackpoints with two ‘F’ co-axial outlets for most outlets on the same faceplate in each bedroom and normally occupied room.
  • For the main TV position we recommend four RJ45 jackpoints and four ‘F’ co-axial. Avoid wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries.
  • Two or more such outlets are recommended in the lounge, rumpus room and study
  • At the home distributor box the Cat6 cables should ideally be terminated on RJ45 type modular sockets mounted in a patch panel. This will allow very simple patching to/from routers and easy replacement if one becomes faulty.

Setting up the home distributor box 

It is the homeowner’s or builder’s responsibility to supply the home distributor box, patch panel and patch cables.

The homeowner’s service provider will supply the residential gateway (RGW).

Chorus will provide the External Terminal Point and the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) which will be installed in the home distributor box at the same time.

 To set up a home distributor box:

  • The ETP position will typically be on the external wall of the garage or utility room in new homes
  • The ETP must be a minimum of 300mm above the final ground level and a maximum height of 1500mm.
  • Make sure a plastic pipe is installed through the wall at the ETP position and up into the star wiring box, using minimum 20mm diameter pipe and 300mm 90˚ bend. Do not use an elbow bend
  • Run the three Cat6 cables from the home distributor box to the ETP position
  • Leave at least 1000mm of slack loop at the home distributor box and at least 500mm slack at the ETP position
  • Install a dual power outlet in the bottom of the home distributor box to power the equipment
  • The home distributor box must be installed in the inside wall above the ETP position – about eye level is ideal
  • Home distributor box minimum dimensions are 350mm wide x 700mm high x 80mm deep.
  • The door on the home distributor box must have louvers so air can circulate to keep the equipment cool.

Testing and verifying is critical 

Poorly installed wiring can affect the quality of the phone or broadband services and homeowner experiences.

We strongly recommend that newly installed cabling is tested and verified by the installer as being able to operate at the speed it is rated for.

The performance of communications cabling can be affected if:

  • Too much cable insulation is removed
  • The communications cabling is too close to electrical cabling, causing interference
  • The correct bend radius is exceeded
  • Wiring is incorrectly terminated
  • Copper pairs are not kept twisted as close as possible to the point of termination
  • Poor quality components (e.g. patch cords and connectors) are used.

The homeowner should expect a detailed report showing the level of services supported by their home wiring.

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Installing underground lead-in pipes

Our network is typically built up to the boundary of the property. A lead-in pipe is needed to get the network cable from the point on the boundary where our network terminates (the network terminal) to the point on the building where the internal cabling needs to connect to our network (known as the external termination point or ETP). The lead-in is the property owner's responsibility and can be installed by an electrician or builder.

If you don't comply with this information, you run the risk of a refusal to connect your premises to the network and will be required to meet the cost of rectifying any sub-standard installation.

A lead-in pipe is required in all property developments whether it's a single level residential dwelling or multi-story office or apartment block. These will be different sizes and locations depending on the scale of the property.

There are three components to an underground lead-in:

  1. Lead-in pipe with associated pre-formed bends. This protects the cable and makes it easier to replace or add cable:
  • The lead-in pipe should be a minimum of 20mm internal diameter and should be telecommunications green in colour which can be purchased from electrical wholesalers.
  1. Lead-in cable. We require a draw tape rather than cable is installed. There are different cable choices including copper, fibre or hybrid. We'll use the draw tape to install the correct cable for the property.
  1. External Termination Point (ETP) to house the connection point between the inside and outside cabling.
  • The ETP should be positioned as close as possible to the front of the building at a minimum height of 300mm above finished ground level with a maximum height of 1500mm.
  • We'll provide and install the correct ETP.
Ideal lead-in duct layout


If you're unsure about trenching requirements, please contact us on 0800 463 896 Option 3

Trenching can be done by open trenching, direct drilling or thrusting methods. You can save unnecessary work and cost by following these basic requirements:

  • Get local council permission if trenching public footpaths/roads is required.
  • Check the location of existing power/telecommunications and other underground networks before digging by visiting the beforeUdig website. Special conditions may apply if any network is present.
  • Clearly find the network terminal point in the street and the ETP location at your property BEFORE selecting the trench route and digging. Contact your broadband provider or us where there's no terminal or you're unsure where it is.
  • The trench should be as straight as practicable avoiding sudden changes in direction or elevation.
  • Trench depth should be 450mm below finished ground level. Where the lead-in will be under permanent material (e.g. concrete driveway) the depth can be reduced to 300mm.
  • Take extra care when digging within 500mm of a network terminal point.
Urban lead-in installation
Rural lead-in installation

The only difference between urban and rural lead-ins is that some of the cable may be direct buried on a rural property. The cable should be carried in a pipe under high traffic areas directly around the house or driveway and can be direct buried to the road. The maximum ducting distance is around 30m.

" If our cables are damaged, call 0800 4 NETWORK (0800 463 896) immediately. "


The green telecommunications pipe is laid when the builder/developer has the services trench open and can be laid by the builder or electrician. 

If you find part of our network (pole, cable or cable terminal) needs to be moved/removed for the  development to proceed, please contact us on 0800 4 NETWORK (0800 463 896).

Things to remember:

  • The lead-in cable must be installed in a lead-in pipe - except in rural areas where, depending on the distance of the house from the road, some of the lead-in may be direct buried.
  • Each residence must have an individual lead-in from the network access point to the ETP.
  • The ETP must be a minimum of 300mm above the finished ground level but no more than 1500mm above ground.
  • Access to and terminating at a network terminal is Chorus' responsibility.
  • Telecommunications cables must leave buildings through their own conduit and this must not be shared with power cables.
  • A lead-in cable can share a trench with other services, but requirements for clearances must be met as shown below.

Plan view of a lead-in installation (urban)

  • Individual lead-in pipes to each living unit e.g. flat, house etc.
  • Lead-in pipes are to be kept as straight as practicable.
  • The ETP is the connection point for internal to external wiring.


If you're unsure about a type of power cable, contact your power or gas company or sewer and water pipes, contact your council.

  • Power: See the table below
  • Gas pipelines: (Pressures 420 – 2000 Kpa)
    • Crossings: 300mm minimum
    • Parallel: 450mm minimum
  • Sewer, Stormwater, Water etc: 150mm minimum
Power cable voltage Power cable type With mechanical protection installed Minimum separation
Low voltage - exceeding 50V AC or 120V ripple free DC, but not exceeding 1000V AC or 1500V DC Natural screened or armoured No 150mm crossing
300mm parallel
Yes 50mm
Other than neutral Screen or armoured No 450mm
Yes 50mm crossing
450mm parallel
High voltage - any volatage exceeding 1000V AC or 15000V DC Single or multicore No 450mm
Yes 150mm crossing
450mm parallel (2.4km max parallel length)

Mechanical protection 

Mechanical protection is installed to protect the power cable or gas pipe from any future digging activity.

Examples are:

  • 50mm thick (or greater) concrete slab.
  • 25mm thick (or greater) ground contact treated timber.
  • Tough plastic slab of minimum dimensions 6mm thick x 150mm wide x 750mm long.

Please note:

  1. Mechanical protection shall be positioned to give maximum protection to the power cable or gas line from any digging activity.
  2. Refer to the table above for the power line clearances.

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