Fibre-only MyRepublic aims to lead UFB push

MyRepublic, New Zealand’s newest ISP, sells nothing but full speed fibre-based broadband without data caps. Significantly are none of the pointless 30Mbps down, 10Mbps up entry-level fibre plans offering copper-like performance.

Instead consumers can choose between two 100Mbps plans: one for gamers, the other for everyone else. MyRepublic’s $99 a month Pure plan includes installation and gigabit router — an unsubtle hint at the company’s near-term ambition. Pure customers get a 20Mbps upload speed.

Customers buying MyRepublic’s Gamer plan get the same deal with a 50Mbps upload speed and customised routing to improve game performance.

MyRepublic also offers a $199 100Mbps up and down plan for business users.

CEO Vaughan Baker says the MyRepublic user experience will be different to other ISPs selling UFB services because his company has an optimised network and has allocated more international bandwidth per customer than its rivals.

Baker is best known for leading the electricity companies’ bid to build the UFB network in 2011. The lion’s share went to Telecom (now Chorus) with electricity companies picking up about 30 percent of the contracts.

At the launch of MyRepublic, Baker said he was a foundation investor in the Singapore-based parent company. He put his money into the company intending to  bring it to New Zealand.

Baker says until now ISPs have sold UFB services in the same way they sold copper services. He says for the most part they simply transferred their old systems to the new service. However, he says fresh thinking is needed for fibre services to take off in New Zealand.

Price is only part of the equation. While MyRepublic’s rates are low, they are not the lowest in the market. Just two days before the MyRepublic launch, Spark’s BigPipe operation announced an uncapped 100/20Mbps plan for just $79 a month. There’s also a 200/200Mbps uncapped plan at $129 a month.

Part of MyRepublic’s pitch is a Fibre TV service. Baker says it will serve the world’s best streaming content to customers even during the evening when the network is congested. Initially the FibreTV service is free, after three months there will be an extra $15 charge. Content fees are extra, but MyRepublic appears to have found a way around geoblocking although details on how this works were sketchy at the launch.

It’ll be interesting to see how MyRepublic’s optimised services for gamers and TV viewers work in practice and whether customers respond to what might sound like secret sauce.

Baker says the company’s launch in Singapore triggered a surge in fibre connections. It also caused other ISPs to sharpen their pencils to the point where Singapore went from the 14th cheapest place to buy fibre services to second spot.