Terabyte of data a month with UFB

By Hamish Fletcher

Malcolm Dick says his companies could offer unlimited data on the UFB  network if more internet links were built. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Malcolm Dick says his companies could offer unlimited data on the UFB network if more internet links were built. Photo / Herald on Sunday

CallPlus plans to offer internet users hooked into the ultra-fast broadband network at least a terabyte of data each month.

While New Zealand may be looking forward to the 100 megabit speeds on the fibre internet network, commentators are worried the infrastructure will not be used to its potential as data caps will restrict the amount customers can download each month.

Capping data is common practice in New Zealand and those who reach their monthly limit must pay more for extra usage or have their internet speed slow to a crawl.

These caps are relatively unheard of in Europe, and the United States is only just starting to introduce them.

Slingshot and CallPlus director Malcolm Dick said his companies could offer unlimited data on the ultra-fast broadband network if more internet links out of New Zealand were built.

"A couple of years out ... you'd hope that all those caps would be removed and it would be the same as in Europe and the States.

Certainly in the worst case we're looking in the terabytes [of internet use a month]. It will be up to at least a terabyte, I reckon, it has to be," Dick said.

One terabyte is more than 1000 gigabytes. Most retailers now offer only between five and 40 gigabytes of data a month.

Orcon chief executive Scott Bartlett would not give specifics on what packages the company has planned but said data caps were rising year-on-year and Orcon would challenge others in the market.

Dick and other internet providers argue the caps are in place because a lack of competition in the international market keeps prices high.

Southern Cross Cable Network runs the only submarine cable system between New Zealand, Australia and the United States, but Kordia and Pacific Fibre are planning to build others. The companies are still gathering capital for their projects.

Pacific Fibre board member Rod Drury was adamant the bottleneck in the international market was to blame for data caps. But Southern Cross sales and marketing director Ross Pfeffer dismissed these claims as nonsense.

Pfeffer said Southern Cross charged Australian and New Zealand companies the same price to bring internet traffic from America.

Despite this, he said Australian providers were offering better data deals to their customers.

"In New Zealand, you'll find the caps are lower and the cost per gig within the capped amount is [higher]."

Pfeffer also denied that Australian companies got better deals because they were buying in bulk and said smaller providers often had cheaper prices than their larger counterparts.

The Government's ultra-fast broadband scheme will lay fibre cables around 75 per cent of New Zealand, providing internet users with speeds of 100 megabits a second before the end of 2019.

CallPlus and Orcon said previously that prices on the UFB network would range between $70 to $100 a month for phone and internet services.

- NZ Herald

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