The speed of traffic in Whangarei's central business district (CBD) is about to get 100 times faster - internet traffic, that is.
The rollout of Northpower's ultra-fast broadband (UFB) network has made it to the CBD, heralded by orange road cones and men in overalls digging holes in John and James Sts.
By the time the work is finished later this year, another 630 premises will have the option of connecting to fibre.
Switching from copper to fibre-optic cables is like four-laning Bank St, Northpower Fibre chief executive Darren Mason said, meaning "traffic jams" would be a thing of the past.
"The potential is for fibre to be 10 to 100 times faster than copper, even faster as time goes on - the speed is up to the end user and what they want," Mr Mason said.
"Fibre is a huge enabler and will be a great tool for businesses, schools and individuals - providing faster data transfer, ease of video conferencing, a greater array of services and improved efficiencies - simply because it is so fast."
Graphic designer Matt Lewis was one of the first business owners to connect to fibre after the Whangarei UFB rollout began in late 2010.
He's seen his personal productivity increase 40 per cent as a result of faster data delivery speeds.
"For me upload speed is crucial and that reduces my time online significantly," Mr Lewis said. "Something that might have taken me two hours [on a copper connection], takes me a few minutes now. I'm a very happy person when I need to deliver stuff because I know it's not a problem."
Northpower said it was using underground ducting installed for power and telecommunication cables. The company plans to install 146 manholes in the CBD as part of the fibre installation.
Most of the work should be finished by September, Northpower said.