Enable Networks, Northpower Fibre and Ultrafast Fibre plan to launch gigabit wholesale broadband services in October. They say they will offer download speeds of 1Gbps with uploads running at 500Mbps.
Meanwhile Spark New Zealand says it is already testing Enable’s gigabit services in Christchurch. The company had previously asked wholesale fibre companies to roll out gigabit services nationwide.
MyRepublic managing director Vaughan Baker says his company will automatically upgrade its 200Mbps customers in Whangarei, Hamilton, Christchurch to a 1Gbps plan for no extra cost when the service becomes available in October.
The three fibre companies planning a gigabit upgrade have local wholesale monopolies in about one-third of UFB areas. Northpower operates in Whangarei, Enable run the network in and around Christchurch while UFF is the fibre wholesaler for much of the central North Island.
It started in Gigatown
Chorus, which operates fibre networks throughout the rest of New Zealand says it is discussing the matter with its partners. It already offers a gigabit service in Dunedin which won Chorus’ Gigatown competition.
Dunedin has had a mixed gigabit broadband experience. While there’s evidence that some companies are making use of the high speeds, there has also been criticism about getting connected to the service. There is also a debate in the city over whether it has attracted businesses.
Even so, there’s ample evidence consumers want faster broadband speeds. That’s despite there being few residential applications to challenge the 200Mbps services already on offer.
Enable says the majority of its residential customers are now ordering services with download speeds of 100Mbps or 200Mbps. It says existing fibre users are upgrading to faster speeds.
The company says it plans to work with its retail service providers to launch new services to homes in Christchurch, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Woodend, Rolleston and Lincoln.
New Zealand hooked on speed
After a slow start, Ultrafast Broadband is gathering momentum and the greatest demand is for the fastest services.
Communications minister Amy Adams says between March and June 2016, 87 percent of new residential connections were for 100Mbps services or higher. And 9 percent of new connections are 200Mbps or above.
She says: “There are already over 3700 active residential 1Gbps services in New Zealand, and I expect to see this grow. LFCs have announced wholesale products. I encourage the industry to collaborate to offer gigabit plans at a retail level on attractive terms.”