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UFB on schedule but no deals yet

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 26/10/2012

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Timaru's ultra-fast broadband roll-out is on schedule but customers may have to wait a little longer for the right deals to arrive.

Fibre-optic provider Chorus, which won the local contract for the roll-out, hopes to have at least 1800 homes in the city UFB-capable by the end of next month.

However, in order to get the full benefit of the service - including speeds up to 100 megabits per second - users will have to sign up with a service provider.

Most providers the Herald spoke to yesterday had not finalised their plans.

Telstra spokesman Gary Bowering said it was still working through the process.

"In all likelihood, we won't be offering any UFB-specific plans for Timaru customers until early next year," he said.

Mr Bowering said the challenge was to ensure the deals fitted the likely demand.

Telecom spokeswoman Lucy Jackson said it hoped to launch package deals for residential customers in March.

"It's absolutely vital we get the customer experience right before the launch," she said.

Vodafone spokeswoman Emma Carter said UFB "deals" had not been released but customers could register for a free service trial.

"We're getting everything right before we launch plans nationwide," she said.

Slingshot product manager Aaron Simonsen said UFB deals for Timaru would be ready by January.

Entry-level UFB plans would start at $72/month for a homeline and broadband with 50GB of rollover data, free voicemail, caller display and call waiting, and also 10GB of online backup for free.

"We're already under way with our Slingshot fibre trials and offering some lucky customers a 100Mbps downstream connection free for one year," he said.

Chorus spokesman Robin Kelly said he expected more service providers in Timaru to come "online" in the next few months as progress continued.

Timaru is one of the first towns to benefit from the Government's $1.3 billion UFB roll-out, with work beginning in late July.

By mid-2013, the new UFB network should be deployed across Highfield, Washdyke, Smithfield, central Timaru and some areas across Marchwiel, Gleniti, Westend, Waimataitai and Redruth.

From July 2013 to June 2014, the UFB network will be rolled out in other parts of Westend, Gleniti and Marchwiel.

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- The Timaru Herald

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