Gigabit broadband rollout speeds up

Almost every property in metropolitan Dunedin will have access to gigabit broadband within two years, Chorus confirmed yesterday.

The telecommunications infrastructure company announced last month it planned to accelerate the rollout of Dunedin's fibre network to bring better benefits for the city after its Gigatown win.

Initially the Dunedin rollout was expected to take until the end of 2019.

Chorus updated its online mapping service yesterday showing Dunedin residents when they could expect the infrastructure to reach their properties.

The map grouped Dunedin's properties into three categories: those who had access to gigabit broadband now; those who would by June 2017; and those who would gain access between July 2017 and December 2017.

The changes showed:

• Original rollout plan: July 2015-June 2016. New plan: no change

• Original rollout plan: July 2016-June 2017. New plan: no change

• Original rollout plan: July 2017-June 2018. New plan: July 2017-December 2017

• Original rollout plan: July 2018-June 2019. New plan: July 2016-June 2017

• Original rollout plan: July 2019-June 2020. New plan: July 2017-December 2017

Chorus' chief commercial officer Tim Harris said the accelerated rollout would push the infrastructure company, but Dunedin had earned the hurry-up, having ''taken fibre to heart'' since last year's Gigatown win and the subsequent launch of GigCity Dunedin last month.

''We want to see as many businesses and homes as possible getting access to gigabit broadband and we're pushing ourselves harder, with the support of Dunedin City Council, to get fibre deployed two years ahead of schedule.''

GigCity Dunedin spokesman John Gallaher said the accelerated rollout was ''a real endorsement'' of Dunedin's enthusiasm for the technology, but having the fibre rolled out was not the end.

Property owners still had to get the fibre from the street to their homes or businesses, he said.

''There's a lot of innovation, a lot of enthusiasm from Dunedin people to connect. And all this means is that we are going to be able to do that more quickly.

''But the key thing is that the infrastructure brings it to your gate. You now need to go and talk to [your internet service provider] to connect it up.''

Chorus also announced last month a one-year extension for its discounted gig scheme.

By winning the Gigatown competition last year, Dunedin was promised gig-speed internet at entry-level broadband prices until February 2018.

The expiry of that discount scheme would now be February 2019.

However, it seemed the majority of Dunedin people who had fibre connected to their homes were missing out on that discount scheme, a Chorus spokesman said yesterday.

While about 6900 Dunedin properties had fibre connected at their properties, less than 2500 of those were connected to a ''gig'' scheme.

That meant some 4500 properties were paying as much or more for 30Mbps internet as they would if they switched to the 1000Mbps gigabit broadband, he said.

craig.borley@odt.co.nz

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