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Tuatahi First Fibre buys Unison Fibre

Tuatahi First Fibre acquires Unison Fibre, Kordia to sell Starlink, TCF report, draft TDL allocation
Tuatahi First Fibre buys Unison Fibre

Tuatahi First Fibre buys Unison Fibre

Tuatahi First Fibre has acquired Unison Fibre. The deal will add around 3500 customers to Tuatahi's footprint and enable retail service providers to offer ex-Unison customers standard UFB fibre plans.

Tuatahi is the Hamilton-based local fibre whole company that won contracts to build the UFB network in central North Island areas. Unison Fibre is the broadband business operated by Unison, the power company that serves the area from Taupo and Rotorua to Hawke's Bay.

Tuatahi CEO John Hanna says Unison staff will join his team: “As we merge Unison’s Fibre business into ours, we will ensure Unison’s current fibre customers a smooth transition without any disruption to services.”

Deal means increased access for customers

“That said, there will be huge positive change for Unison customers in one regard: increased access. We are able to offer many more retail service providers.”

He says Tuatahi is investing in order to offer its customers Hyperfibre in the next 12 months.

Tuatahi, formerly UFF, is unusual as it is New Zealand's only overseas owned fibre wholesale business. It has been owned by Igneo Infrastructure Partners since September 2020. Igneo is a global business with a head office in Sydney, Australia. The company also owns Waste Management NZ.

TCF annual report focuses on resilience

Resilience is top of mind in this year's industry report from The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum. It covers the industry's Cyclone Gabrielle response and from there moves to looking at future planning, action and recovery.

In the document's introduction, TCF CEO Paul Brislen writes: "The industry has a good track record of coming together in times of crisis to support each other and minimise the impact of any outages by working hard to restore services quickly".

Later he writes: "Resilience is now one of those major areas of focus not only for the telecommunications sector but for the whole country. How we provide connectivity in a country prone to major events like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami, rising sea levels and increasingly wild storms, is our top priority."

Spark's IoT journey moves on to air quality

Spark is working with AirSuite, a start-up business from the Waikato, on IoT-based indoor air quality measurements. The air quality measuring system uses AirSuite's IAQ sensors connected through Spark's LTE Cat-M1 network to monitor air pressure, humidity, CO2, temperature, sound and lighting. Data captured by the sensors is sent to Spark's cloud-based IoT Bridge.

Kordia is the latest New Zealand Starlink reseller. The state-owned comms and security business signed a deal with Netlinkz, the Australian-based Starlink distributor, to offer business grade satellite services for its customers.

In a statement Kordia says the move will complement its existing managed WAN services to improve rural coverage in more remote parts of New Zealand.

Murray Goodman, head of product at Kordia says: “Over the past year, extreme weather conditions have also demonstrated the value of additional access options to support business continuity, especially for mission critical communications.”

An important aspect of the deal with Netlinkz is that Kordia's customers will have access to services and support. Starlink has notoriously poor, some argue non-existent, customer support.

Draft TDL allocation decision out for feedback

The Commerce Commission has published its latest draft Telecommunications Development Levy allocation and wants industry feedback on the document.

This year's TDL will be $11.25 million. As usual the four largest telcos will pay almost the entire bill. The draft allocation, which is unlikely to change much, has Spark, One New Zealand, Chorus and 2degrees in the frame for around 87 per cent of the total.

Telcos that earn more than $10 million a year from selling telecommunications services in New Zealand collectively pay the TDL.

One NZ to sell new Apple Watch models

One NZ says it will begin selling the Apple Watch Series 9 starting today, October 27. The carrier is also selling the second generation Apple Watch SE models. The Watches are able to connect to the company's mobile network to make calls and receive text messages without a nearby iPhone.

Gartner says worldwide IT Spending will grow 8 per cent next year

A forecast from Gartner says the world will spend $5.1 trillion on information technology in 2024. That's up 8 per cent on expected 2023 spending.

Software and IT services will lead the way. Gartner says both segments will see double digit growth. Spending on public cloud is expected to increase by a shade over 20 per cent. In part that rise will be down to price increases, but there will also be greater cloud utilisation.

Gartner forecasts a modest 4.8 per cent increase in device sales as the market recovers from a poor 2023.

Communication services are expected to grow below the trend, at 3.3 per cent.

In other news...

Add Apple to the list of streaming companies increasing prices. The company says the US price of its Apple TV+ will rise from US$6.99 to US$9.99 a month. That's a rise of close to 30 per cent. The New Zealand price is NZ$12.99, a similar increase here would push that to around NZ$17.

At the New Zealand Herald Chris Keall reports on Spark broadband customers getting hit with bills up to three times the normal amount. It's an accounting change, which is handy for Spark, but terrible for families attempting to budget during times of rapid price rises. If you read as far as Spark's wordy response you'll see a case study in corporate PR thinking that does nothing to help the telecom industry's dismal customer service ratings.

The Download Weekly is supported by Chorus New Zealand.