Local ISP to step up if Gigatown won

Local internet service provider Vetta Technologies (VT) has put its hand up to provide 1 gigabit per second speed internet if Timaru wins the Gigatown competition.

The question of who could provide such speed was asked in the wake of Telecom calling for consistent fibre services across the country. It said it would prefer to offer a data plan for the entire country.

VT chief executive Shaun Fisher said it was understandable national players might not find it commercially advantageous to provide a variety of plans for different places.

"We have been on board from the get-go. The big difference between us and them is we have a local focus," he said.

Ittook a lot of resources to offer the gigabit technology.

Because his company's primary market was South Canterbury, if Timaru was to win the Gigatown competition it would make good business sense to offer the product.

Gigatown is a year-long competition, being run by Chorus.

The telecommunications company would offer one town in New Zealand one gigabit per second internet speeds at a subsidised entry level price for the entire town, and a $250,000 development fund.

Timaru is currently leading the first stage of the competition.

The other big local internet provider, Farmside, said it was assessing the situation but could make no promises it would offer a data plan.

Farmside's marketing communications manager Sara Williamson said it was excited about the possibility Timaru might win and was 100 per cent behind the initiative. Farmside would develop competitive ultrafast broadband plans, she said.

A spokesman for Chorus said it had discussed the competition with its retailers before it began and several had expressed interest.

"We are currently finalising the plan of what will happen for the town that wins Gigatown to ensure there is an ISP (internet service provider) on board," he said.

Telecom general manager product and service delivery Lindsay Cowley said it was great the four internet data wholesalers were offering increased speeds.

However, he believed there was too much variation in the plans being offered by wholesalers. As a result, Telecom could not offer a consistent package nationwide.

"On current trends, we run the risk that our fibre services will be available at different speeds, and different prices, depending on where you live in the country.

"The more complex it becomes, the greater the risk that customers will put the transition to fibre in the too-hard basket and stick to old copper broadband - which would be a bad outcome for our customers and for New Zealand overall," he said.

The Timaru Herald