A small Palmerston North company has created a device that will make broadband internet up to 50 per cent faster without having to pay hundreds of dollars installing fibre-optic cables.
The system looks like a modem, and connects with homes' existing wiring to boost broadband speeds without having to pay the $800-plus fee for re-wiring a home with modern cables to get such fast internet.
The wiring in most New Zealand homes is too old to cope with fast internet.
Three engineers from little-known company Remote Management Systems have been quietly designing the device, called a service delivery point, for the past 2 1/2 years.
The brains behind the service delivery point belong to the company's operations manager Alan Jacks, production design engineer Hayden Short, and development engineer Chris Johnston.
But now the modest trio are being propelled into the limelight after signing a contact with Telecom's infrastructure division, Chorus, which has already taken orders for the product. The company is also marketing to Australia, and has received interest from Britain, Singapore, Taiwan and France.
More than 1500 New Zealand homes are lined up to get the system installed, with orders for the company to produce 4000 each month until the end of the year.
The clever device also has a second appeal.
For homes that do have fibre-optic cabling, it will act as a backup electricity system.
The device will sense when the power has cut and will keep the landline phone running for up to four hours.
"This is essential in emergencies," Mr Jacks said. "It's about smart technology."
The firm's aim is to get the device into every home in New Zealand, he said.
A small-business version of the model will also be available that will keep eftpos machines running, security cameras operating and alarms running.
The firm is also in discussions with banks and government departments.
Remote Management Systems' chief executive Jon Feygan said they had tried to keep secret what they've been working on for the last few years, but now it's time to celebrate.
"This is going to make us big," Mr Feygan said. "We have invested millions of investors' money, worked weekends and long hours and it's finally paying off."
* An earlier version of this story mentioned the device would improve speeds "more than 50 times" instead of "up to 50 per cent". We apologise for the error.
- Manawatu Standard