Ultra-fast broadband (UFB) is having a "powerful" impact on growing small businesses in Tauranga, a local business leader says.

Thirteen per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in the Bay of Plenty are already connected to UFB, a new survey reveals.

As of December, 47 per cent of the fibre optic network infrastructure in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato had been built.

Trans-Tasman accounting software provider MYOB surveyed more than 1000 small and medium businesses nationwide this year.


More than half the Bay businesses questioned said hooking up to a fibre-based ultra-fast network would have a positive impact on their operations.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dave Burnett said UFB had a lot of positive spin-offs for local businesses.

Benefits included faster, and increased, access to market information.

"Information is powerful. It gives you knowledge, and to have that knowledge can be used to grow that business," he said. "In terms of assisting businesses to grow, ultra-fast broadband is very powerful."

Telecommunications Users' Association New Zealand (TUANZ) chief executive Paul Brislen said small businesses stood to gain the most from UFB.

"If you're a medium or a large business ... it's just a matter of reducing your costs. But if you're a small business, you take the leap from a fairly basic connection that's really designed for consumers ... to the sort of things that your corporate competitors have always had at very little cost.

"That's going to change the way a lot of companies do business."

Fibre-based internet would reduce hour-long tasks to a matter of seconds, and drastically lower costs, he said.


UFB had cut TUANZ's own annual IT bill from $30,000 to $500.

The other "big winner" was the household consumer, as internet use in the home increased every year.

Wellington was the most connected main centre with a quarter of its firms saying they were hooked up to a fibre-based internet network. Auckland had 16 per cent and Christchurch 10 per cent.

Fibre will be capable of peak speeds of at least 100 megabits per second - that's up to 10 times faster than a regular broadband connection.