Orcon unveils first LLU broadband services

Orcon has launched the first local unbundled telephone and broadband network services -- called Orcon@home -- to be available initially in five Auckland suburbs.

The ADSL2+ services will be offered from March 25 through five exchanges in Glenfield, Browns Bay, Ellerslie, Mt Albert and Ponsonby, however CEO Scott Bartlett says the ISP has an aggressive roll-out plan.

It plans to have installed its equipment in 10 Auckland exchanges by mid-year including the CBD, extending coverage from 50,000 homes in March to 300,000 homes, and then to expand into Wellington near the end of this year and Christchurch next year. Provincial centers are the next in its sights after Christchurch.

"My wish would be to roll [the service] out just like that," says Bartlett, adding that it is restricted by the Commerce Commission's determination that Telecom must only make 15 exchanges per quarter available to other providers this year, resulting in up to 75 being unbundled by April 2009.

"Three times better capacity of this network and competition at an infrastructure level with Telecom is a kickstart," he says.

The service could offer download speeds of up to 24 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to one megabit per second, which Orcon says is about three times the standard local ADSL download bandwidth capacity.

Bartlett expects "tens of thousands" of customers to adopt the services, rather than hundreds of thousands.

He says Orcon is also willing to wholesale its network to other service providers, but expects the majority of its customers will be retail.

The ISP has been trialing its service for seven months, and has been working on its network project since local loop unbundling was announced in May 2006.

It is offering three plans -- Purple Plus, Gold Plus and Platinum Plus, along with data and calling add-ons. The latter two include a home line, and the plan prices range from $79.95 per month to $119.95 per month.

Customers can add unlimited calls of up to an hour to an international landline in one of 15 countries for $10 per country, under the last two plans. They can also add extra data as needed under each plan.

Users get a one port hub modem free, or can rent Orcon's Homehub wireless modem for $5 per month. Subscribers don't sign a contract, and can keep their existing home number if they switch to Orcon.

Orcon has partnered with Nokia Siemens Networks for multiservice access nodes (MSAN) and other hardware.

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