Wanganui's fibre broadband internet network is complete.
It will be officially launched with the Beyond Broadband expo at UCOL from May 14-16.
The free expo will include workshops on a range of subjects including education, healthcare, business and home use, and how fibre broadband relates to it.
By July last year only 2.4 per cent of properties which could connect had done so. That was expected to increase as more providers offered the service.
Ultrafast Fibre began installing the $35 million network in July 2011, and in December 2012 Inspire Net was the first provider to offer a UFB connection in Wanganui. Many more are now on board.
Wanganui District Council digital facilitator Marianne Archibald said the network would give Wanganui a huge advantage in business and in attracting people to the region.
"I just think it's amazing," she said. "More and more people are coming to Wanganui and setting up business. Having that infrastructure is huge. It starts to make a real difference to people's lives."
Ms Archibald said the real benefit of having such infrastructure would be seen in the coming years. She hoped the official launch would encourage people to connect to the network.
John Butt, from TrueNet, which measures and reports broadband performance in New Zealand, said there was a big difference in internet speed between ADSL broadband (which the majority of broadband users would have) and the new fibre network.
ADSL would generally average about a 10MB per second (mbps) downloading and 1MB uploading. Fibre broadband plans download at 30, 100 or 200 mbps depending on the user's plan. But the biggest difference was the 20 mbps upload speed, 20 times that of ADSL.
Upload speed was useful for video conferencing, such as Skype, and also cloud computing. Fibre was also good for homes with multiple devices using the same connection.
To register for the free workshops go to http://gofaster.co.nz/free-workshops