Ultra fast Broadband ready by July
Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than existing broadband will be available in New Plymouth by July this year. Waikato business Ultrafast Fibre has the government contract to lay the fibre optic cables for ultrafast broadband in this part of the country.
The project will cover more than 400 kilometres of road and will be laid outside about 20,600 New Plymouth homes. The cables will sit 70 per cent underground and 30 per cent overhead.
Ultrafast Fibre chief executive Maxine Elliott said the work would begin in early April and take two or three years to connect the whole of New Plymouth.
"We'll put a spade in the ground in April," Ms Elliott said.
Transfield Services were the principal contractors for the New Plymouth project which was expected to cost $39.8 million, she said.
Ms Elliott was in New Plymouth to discuss the merits of the new service.
"It will be quite a different experience," she said.
Sending and receiving files and downloading capabilities would be exponentially faster, she said.
"It will make an amazing difference to what's available."
Downloading a high definition four gigabyte movie using standard New Zealand broadband currently takes nearly three hours.
With 100 megabits ultrafast broadband the same movie will take five minutes and 20 seconds.
Transfield Services would employ up to 100 people to lay cables in the whole Taranaki region with 40 to 50 of those in New Plymouth.
"It's future-proofing and enabling retailers to do things they haven't been able to do before."
She predicted there would be some businesses who used the ultrafast broadband in innovative ways and created new products and services with it.
But it would take some adapting for businesses to come to terms with the new technology, she said. "There will be a learning curve."
No matter how many people in a household or business used high speed internet, the network would not slow down, she said.
But Trade Me founder Sam Morgan said last year that unless internet service providers lowered their prices and increased their data caps, households would chew through their data limits in days with ultrafast broadband.
Work for New Plymouth ultrafast broadband would first get under way in the central business district, followed by Strandon then Fitzroy.
The New Plymouth District Council was also considering Waitara being included in the ultrafast broadband project, she said.