Gigabit speed means end to slow streaming

Residential users of 1 gigabit-per-second internet can expect an end to delays when streaming video, a New Zealand internet service provider says.

Following the announcement Dunedin had won the Gigatown competition, some internet service providers, including Orcon, Wicked Networks and Snap, have come up with retail and business packages for when gigabit internet goes live in the city early next year.

However, larger providers Spark (formerly Telecom) and Vodafone are yet to announce their offerings.

Orcon general manager Mike Shirley said yesterday residential users would notice the largest difference when using video streaming sites such as YouTube.

Buffering, where the video paused while it downloaded, would no longer be an issue and users could stream higher-quality video, he said.

Dunedin's Gigatown victory came at the right time, with video-on-demand services such as Lightbox already available and Neon and Netflix launching soon, Mr Shirley said.

In future it would allow for ''smart homes'', where lighting systems, security monitoring and other parts of the home were run over the cloud.

There were no set-up costs to sign up to Orcon's offering, and Chorus offering a reduced wholesale price of $37.50 per month meant Orcon could offer a very competitive price.

''The great thing for the residents of Dunedin is they are getting a really slick service for a pretty sharp price,'' he said.

A Vodafone spokesman said it was still a case of ''watch this space'' when it came to its gigabit offering.

''Vodafone is preparing plans for gigabit ultra-fast broadband connections to residents and businesses in Dunedin,'' he said.

Spark PR manager Lucy Fullarton said Spark would be installing ''GigaWi-Fi'' on some of its Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.

''Because Wi-Fi can expand the reach and connectivity of fibre this is an obvious complement to Gigatown,'' Ms Fullarton said.

It was yet to say when it would offer the service on its business and retail plans.

''We're still working through the technical side of things, and hope to announce more details in the near future, but at this point we're not able to give details of timing or price.''

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