Telecom, soon to be Spark New Zealand, says the time has come for Gigabit per second data download speeds to be available across all of New Zealand’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre network.
The telco made the call as its Ultra Fibre products became available in the Taupo area – making it the only Internet Service Provider (ISP) selling fibre broadband services everywhere in New Zealand where the UFB network is currently active.
“When the UFB network rollout began in 2012, the standard download speeds available were 30 or 100 Megabits per second (Mbps),” says Lindsay Cowley, Telecom’s General Manager Product and Service Delivery.
“Since then, we’ve seen encouraging product innovation and speed increases across the four fibre companies who are contracted by the Government to build the UFB network and offer wholesale services to ISPs.
"Telecom has worked constructively with all LFCs to bring fibre products to people around New Zealand.
“A top download speed of 1000 Megabits, or 1 Gigabit, per second - the maximum technically possible under the UFB network’s current configuration - is now on the table as Ultrafast Fibre Ltd has announced it will launch the product throughout their coverage area of approximately 162,000 addresses in the central North Island.
“With consumers increasingly embracing the benefits of fibre and thirsting for more data at higher speeds, we think the time is right to have a consistent 1 Gigabit per second offering across all fibre companies and the entire UFB network.
“The recent launch of our Unlimited plans has given Telecom customers the opportunity to become ‘Giganaires’ in terms of the broadband data they use.
"We reckon it’s time for New Zealand to become a ‘Giganation’ in terms of broadband speeds and for the ultra fast broadband network to truly live up to its name.”
Telecom and other competing ISPs purchase wholesale internet access from one of the four fibre companies which each have a monopoly over a geographic area - the ISPs then sell fibre services to home and business customers.
As well as Gigabit speeds, Telecom is calling for more national consistency on the products offered by the fibre companies to avoid a “fibre tangle”.
“We applaud the LFCs for their innovation and increasing the fibre speeds we can offer to customers," Cowley adds.
"However it’s getting to the stage where there are too many different inputs across different parts of the country, which makes marketing nationally consistent fibre services to our customers more difficult.
“On current trends, we run the risk that our fibre services will be available at different speeds, and different prices, depending on where you live in the country.
"The more complex it becomes, the greater the risk that customers will put the transition to fibre in the ‘too hard’ basket and stick to their old copper broadband – which would be a bad outcome for our customers and for New Zealand overall.
"We need to make sure the transition to fibre is as straightforward and uncomplicated as possible.”
Telecom has written to all four fibre companies outlining its preferred range of inputs ranging from the 30 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload (the current standard entry-level UFB input) to 1 Gbps download, 500 Mbps upload that should be available nationally.