Following our focus on ultrafast broadband deployment in
the Wakatipu basin last week, the Queenstown Times
asks what service the three available internet providers
offer Queenstown customers. James Beech investigates.
Telecom, Orcon and Snap are the three New Zealand-owned
internet providers competing when Queenstown, Frankton,
Kelvin Heights and Jacks Point want to connect to the
ultrafast broadband (UFB) network on their doorsteps.
All internet service providers (ISPs) share enthusiasm for
people to switch as soon as possible from old copper internet
wires to future-proofed fibre optic cables because it is ''a
far superior way to connect to the internet'', enabling New
Zealanders to ''do more faster'' with greater stability.
All ISPs say they are determined to keep their prices low and
level with copper to help drive consumer demand for fibre.
The physical connection of UFB from streets to homes and
workplaces is free to the user and paid by Chorus from a fund
of $20 million, which is expected to last at least another
year and will cover early adapters in the Wakatipu.
ISPs notify people by mail when their service is available.
Telecom was the first major telecommunications company to
offer UFB and as well as getting fibre-ready customers up and
running, it also made a faster copper-based broadband service
- VDSL, or Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line -
available to people who are waiting for the fibre rollout to
arrive in their neighbourhoods.
Spokeswoman Holly Linnell, of Auckland, said Telecom was
continuing to support customers who happily use their home
landline service via copper at no extra charge.
''This is important to note for customers who use Sky TV,
faxes, home and medical alarms all of which operate off
existing copper wiring,'' Ms Linnell said.
''We're also working on helping usher in the content to get
people really excited by signing up to next-generation
broadband. Enabling customers to curate and connect to the
types of online experiences they've never had before is
''Telecom's support of the hosting of the English Premier
League via PremierLeaguePass.com is an example of this.''
Snap! was the first internet service provider to have the
necessary network requirements in place and was getting
consumer orders the moment the first areas were live with
UFB, including Queenstown.
The company has the most extensive UFB footprint in New
Zealand, offering USB services to about 90% of the market,
and it is the only provider to be owned and operated in
Christchurch, with its call centre also based in the Garden
Spokesman James Koers, of Christchurch, said Snap! was
pushing UFB hard because the company saw it has an
opportunity to grow its market share.
''We've got some good experience with UFB because we did leap
into the market in August of last year and we've got
literally thousands of UFB customers connected around the
country, so we're really confident about the quality of the
network and the performance the customer will see,'' Mr Koers
''We have got pretty generous data caps included as standard
because we don't see the point of offering the same data cap
as an ADSL service.
''UFB is fast and people are going to use it more, whether
they realise it or not, so we think as standard the caps
should reflect it is a much better performing service and
you'll consume more data.''
Orcon is aiming to provide its internet services in
Queenstown and Timaru in December and Oamaru next year, after
establishing itself in Dunedin.
Spokesman Quentin Reade, of Auckland, said Orcon was
''leading the charge'' because it was the first internet
service provider to launch nationwide services, has been
selling UFB for more than a year and it has more connections
than other providers.
The UFB and copper plans are priced the same and Orcon will
the same as its nationwide 12-month fixed-term offers.
''Our most popular plan is the unlimited data, which we've
seen people move to, just because when you've got faster
speed you use more data.
''You don't want to be watching your usage meter to make sure
you're not going over your data cap.''