The latest map of ultrafast broadband deployment in Queenstown shows UFB-available zones in dark blue, pinpoints the five Queenstown and Frankton schools as priority users and shows the 1Mbps to 20Mbps zones (light orange to dark red) and rural broadband initiative zones of 5Mbps (dark green) and 1Mbps (light green).
Ultrafast broadband (UFB) networking steadily continues in
the Wakatipu, but what comes next if fibre is installed on
your doorstep and what about those households missing out?
James Beech investigates.
The network capability map of the Wakatipu on the Chorus
website is a patchwork of blues, reds and greens to
illustrate where New Zealand's largest telecommunications
utility company has delivered the future of the internet to
homes, schools, hospitals and businesses.
For residents, the pupils of all three central schools and
operators in downtown Queenstown, the future has already
arrived, from the top of the industrial spread up Gorge Rd,
down to One Mile and across to the gardens and Queenstown
Hill, ending at a jagged boundary reaching the end of Park
Two-thirds of the residential estate of Jack's Point also has
ultrafast broadband (UFB) available.
UFB is installed beneath the pavement in the dark blue
patches to provide the optimal internet speed of up to
100Mbps (megabits per second).
A single megabit is about the same as a 500-page book, or six
seconds of uncompressed audio from a compact disc.
Light blue covers Fernhill and Sunshine Bay, York St east on
to Wakatipu Heights and the terraces above and below Frankton
Rd, all the way to Frankton itself, its two primary schools,
hospital, airport and Kelvin Heights, plus most of Frankton
Flats to overlap Shotover Country.
All these areas are scheduled to have UFB installed and
connection ready by a service provider by June 2016.
For residents who are left with patched-up pavements and
green cables sticking out of the ground, their next step if
they want to be connected is to call the three service
providers in Queenstown.
Chorus made the new information superhighway, but it is
Orcon, Snap and Telecom who drive on it.
Call them to find out what plans are available to connect to
fibre and make the choice. Technicians need to physically
connect the fibre from the street to the home and it can take
a few hours, usually at no cost to the user.
However, there may be a small installation cost for homes
which are part of a multi-dwelling unit, or for homes which
have a driveway longer than 200m.
There is a small installation cost to businesses, usually
equivalent to about two months of telephone and internet
service costs, but this investment was usually balanced by
increased productivity and efficiency savings, Chorus
spokeswoman Elissa Downey, of Auckland, said.
''Our recent survey of more than 500 Kiwi businesses found
that the key drivers for using faster broadband are to `do
more with less', and increase productivity,'' she said.
''There's some compelling evidence that getting online and
utilising online tools can deliver real benefits for
''A McKinsey survey of almost 5000 small to medium
enterprises across 12 developed broadband markets found that
businesses with a high web presence delivered twice the
annual growth of companies with a low web presence,'' Ms
Central Queenstown and its immediate suburbs may be covered
by UFB, but it is not economically possible to connect every
home in the country.
Arthur's Point, Lake Hayes Estate, Arrowtown, Gibbston,
Jack's Point and Kingston will instead be covered by the
rural broadband initiative. Glenorchy appears to have been
left out for the time being.
The joint project with Vodafone intends to enhance the
existing copper infrastructure for broadband by running fibre
to cell towers to improve mobile connections and download and
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will have 4G from
Telecom starting on November 12, but the company does not
have a date for when it will introduce the next generation
network to Queenstown.
The auction by the Government of the 700MHz spectrum range at
the end of the month will influence how far and wide Telecom
uses the 1800MHz range for 4G services.
The 700MHz range offers better economics of coverage in less
populous areas than 1800MHz.
However, as an indication of what Wakatipu customers can
expect, Telecom's 4G will be available to both prepaid and
pay-monthly customers in those three cities at no extra cost
on Telecom's current plans.
''Whether they are shopping online, streaming music or making
stutter-free video calls to family and friends, 4G will allow
our customers to do a whole lot more, a whole lot faster on
their mobile devices,'' Telecom retail chief executive Chris
''It will also allow businesses to stimulate more efficient
ways of working remotely with teams on the road able to make
reliable video calls, download pictures and documents in
seconds and use cloud services on their mobiles.''
To access 4G, customers will need to be in a coverage area,
own a 4G-capable phone which has been enabled to work on the
Telecom mobile network and upgrade to a 4G sim card.
Most higher-end mobile devices introduced over the past year
or so are 4G-capable, and more devices will be launched in
Telecom rival Vodafone launched its 4G in Queenstown and
Wanaka in June, before the start of the snowsports season and
winter festival. Queenstown was the first South Island
provincial town and only the third in New Zealand to get the
fastest mobile network technology.
Vodafone is expected to switch on 4G in Dunedin and
Invercargill in the first quarter of next year, although the
Octagon in Dunedin is expected to be 4G-enabled before
Welcome to Gigatown
Queenstown could win the prize for fastest broadband in the
southern hemisphere, if it takes part in the national Chorus
competition ''Welcome to Gigatown''.
The year-long competition aims to spark innovation and
mobilise the potential of ultrafast broadband to transform
grassroots economies and services to drive better outcomes
for New Zealand communities.
The prize is the boosted capability of one-gigabit per second
broadband speeds - up to 100 times faster than most cities
around the globe.
Chorus head of marketing and sales Victoria Crone said the
one-gigabit fibre broadband would be deployed in the New
Zealand town which showed New Zealand it had the most desire
to be Gigatown.
All communities covered by Chorus' ultrafast fibre build
plans, including Queenstown, will be eligible to enter the
Welcome to Gigatown is expected to launch on Labour Day this
year, the winning town to be announced in early 2015.