UPDATED: First firm connected in central North Island UFB contract

Hamilton company is officially on the network; thousands more will follow

Stainless Design, a Hamilton stainless steel fabrication firm, is the first company to be connected to the central North Island part of the Government’s ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative, ICT minister Steven Joyce has announced.

The services have not yet gone live, says WEL Networks chief executive Julian Elder. "In terms of when they will get their service, it is a little dependent on construction timetables but we expect it will be the third quarter of this calendar year." (In the original Computerworld story it claimed the services had gone live).

Elder says yesterday's announcement referred to the start of the build. "As a construction project there are many components to be completed before service is fully completed, tested, commissioned etc."

The UFB contract for the central North Island region, which encompasses Hamilton, Tauranga, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Hawera and Tokoroa, is being implemented by Ultra-Fast Broadband Ltd.

"Stainless Design is the first of some 4,000 Hamilton businesses that will have the opportunity to benefit from improved broadband speeds at competitive prices as they are deployed and progressively connected over the next few years," Joyce says in a statement.

Ultra-fast Broadband Limited is contracted to roll out fibre-optic cable to around 163,000 premises in Hamilton, Tauranga, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Hawera and Tokoroa.

The Hamilton deployment includes Te Awamutu and Cambridge and will connect a combined population of more than 200,000, including about 4,000 businesses, some 650 medical centres and 63 schools.

The complete Ultra-Fast Broadband Ltd deal will connect 12 percent of New Zealand’s population and is supported by a Crown contribution in excess of $200 million. It will be completed over a five year period.

The roll out in Tauranga and Wanganui will start in the coming weeks.

Joyce says in the statement: "The fibre-optic network will be open to retailers on equal terms, boosting market competition.

“Wholesale prices will be as low as half the price of current offerings for business services and residential customers will enjoy a vastly improved service for as much as they currently pay, or less”, he says.

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Tags stainless designUFBSteven Joyceufb ltd

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