Ultra-fast net due within weeks

By Aaron van Delden

Wanganui residents will be able to access the ultra-fast broadband network from the first week of December.

InSPire Net, which is based in Palmerston North, will be the first internet service provider to offer residential ultra-fast broadband (UFB) plans in Wanganui.

InSPire Net chief executive James Watts said the company had trialled the technology in several Wanganui businesses, including Computercare on Purnell St, to ensure it worked properly.

"That's also allowed us to iron out a few quirks," he said.

InSPire Net would offer commercial UFB plans from December 3, too, via their helpline, 0800 4 THE NET. These connections will be available to homes and businesses which have been passed by UFB fibre.

To check this, people can use the address finder tool at ultrafastfibre.co.nz.

Last week, CallPlus announced it had started selling UFB to businesses in Wanganui.

Plans start from $130 per month and have no data cap.

Meanwhile, Slingshot, a subsidiary of CallPlus, is engaged in the final stages of a residential UFB trial.

Slingshot chief executive Mark Callander said 10,000 people had registered their interest in UFB at the company's website, slingshot.co.nz, which listed plans and pricing for residential UFB services that would be available throughout New Zealand, including Wanganui, by February.

Mr Callander said Slingshot had been involved in testing the technology for six months to ensure it could be deployed in volume.

Ultrafast Fibre is the company responsible for building the $35 million UFB network in Wanganui, as well as the roll-out of UFB fibre in Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Tokoroa, Hawera, Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

The company's work began in July 2011 and is due to finish in 2016.

Ultrafast Fibre marketing manager Brett Morris said the construction of Wanganui's UFB network was on schedule.

The percentage of the build's completion in Wanganui was the highest, in comparison to the other centres where Ultrafast Fibre was working.

Mr Morris said he put the delay in the availability of UFB plans from internet service providers down to the amount of work involved in being equipped to offer robust UFB services.

Ultrafast Fibre's base wholesale price for a residential UFB plan is $37.50 per month.

The Government has committed $1.35 billion to the construction of a national UFB fibre network and hopes to connect 75 per cent of New Zealanders by 2020. It says the broadband improvements will increase economic activity and productivity.

Schools, hospitals and most businesses will be connected by 2015. Homes will be by 2019.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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