Slow uptake of ultra-fast broadband
South Cantabrians appear to be holding back on hooking up to ultra-fast broadband, but those who have changed are impressed.
Fibre-optic provider Chorus has overseen the rollout in Timaru since April last year, and now more than 8800 homes and businesses have access to speeds up to 100 megabits per second (mbs), nearly 10 times the usual rate.
However, Chorus figures suggest the uptake is just under 3 per cent.
Computer Shop Timaru manager Tim Small said several small businesses might have been waiting until Telecom provided the option of a static IP, which it released in only the last couple of months.
Static IPs give the owner's server a fixed address, making it easier to search or access online.
"It's a pretty essential tool for small businesses," he said. "If you want your customers or staff to be able to access the server, they need to know where to find it on the internet."
However, Copy Fast graphic designer Phil Blair said since he installed UFB at his home, download speeds had increased from 0.8 megabits per second to 31.76mbs and upload speeds from 8mbs to 95mbs.
"The change has been remarkable, there's been no speed bumps. It's been so much easier to download and share material," he said.
"At work, you can be dealing with thousands of small files at once. If you're able to upload or download them that much quicker, it frees up a lot of the time."
Telecom Users Association New Zealand spokesman Paul Brislen said he was not surprised at the low uptake.
"There hasn't really been a government education campaign, or push from the retailers," he said. "For many home-owners, there isn't the array of legal content that you might get overseas. Big players like (video-hosting site) Netflix are not available for New Zealand yet."
Mr Brislen said the process of getting fibre installed could also be a hassle for some users.
"I've heard some horror stories, including burst pipes and trenches getting re-dug," he said.
Chorus spokeswoman Elissa Downey said the physical installation of fibre was free to most homes. There might be a small fee for multi-dwelling units or if a driveway was more than 200 metres long. Some service providers offered broadband over fibre and retained the copper line to carry the phone service.
Retail providers for Timaru include Vodafone, Telecom, Orcon and Snap.
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