Ultra-fast broadband has already satisfied one data-hungry company's need for speed.

And speed is important to the team at Tauranga-based Cucumber - much of their work is developing websites for clients, such as major natural healthcare company Comvita.

"I guess the difference between us and a lot of other general businesses that aren't technology based is that as opposed to just downloading from the cloud, we are uploading all the time - and that's where it was slow generally," said marketing manager Clare Swallow.

"We wanted to speed up that process, so ultimately we could become more responsive to our clients and service them better, quicker, faster - all of that nice stuff."


Before hooking up fibre just before Christmas, uploading a copy of an updated web page could take 10 minutes.

"Now it takes about 10 seconds - so you times that by about 10 developers in a room, and that's a huge productivity gain for us."

Where accessing local clients' servers remotely used to be a slow and painful process - to the point where it was sometimes easier just to walk to their offices instead - fibre had now broken down the time barriers.

"Now, it's just like you're there in the room with them."

Asked if she would recommend UFB for residential users, Ms Swallow said they would have to consider what they were using it for.

"If you're just checking emails and browsing a few sites, then not so much."

But she expected heavy data usage - viewing video and image-based content - would only grow.

And for businesses such as hers, the choice was a no-brainer. "Our pricing is no different from what we were on before, but there've been huge cost savings in terms of time. Why wouldn't you want that for your business? It was an easy decision."

What exactly is ultra fast broadband?

Broadband is defined as providing a transmission capacity in excess of 2 megabits per second (Mbps), while ultrafast broadband (UFB) is gen-erally described as services which deliver much faster speeds, in excess of 25 Mbps.

In New Zealand's case, having UFB is taken to mean the availability of broadband services at a minimum speed of 100 Mbps downstream (from the internet to the user) and a minimum of 50 Mbps upstream (from user to the internet).

Uptake of faster broadband speeds has been increasing rapidly worldwide in response to the growing popularity of the internet as a tool of communication, collaboration and commerce, with optical fibre technology the most preferred means of delivering UFB.

Under the Government's $1.5 billion initiative, fibre will be delivered to schools, health premises, businesses and homes, reaching three-quarters of New Zealanders in 33 towns and cities around the country by 2019. The centres were picked because they are the country's largest population centres, according to Statistics New Zealand projections for 2021.