Wired Country says it's beating Telecom on broadband

Wired Country's nascent broadband network has already passed Telecom's best efforts at providing a residential broadband service, says general manager Mike Lancaster.

Wired Country's nascent broadband network has already passed Telecom's best efforts at providing a residential broadband service, says general manager Mike Lancaster.

Lancaster wouldn't reveal actual customer numbers for the service, which is running in rural South Auckland, claiming commercial sensitivity.

"But percentage-wise, I'd have to say we're well ahead."

Wired Country's network covers the Pukekohe region, south of Auckland city, which had, according to Statistics NZ, around 15,700 households at the last census.

Telecom, on the other hand, has rolled out JetStream capability to around 85% of New Zealand households. New Zealand had 1.36 million households at the last census so Telecom's potential reach for JetStream customers is around 1.15 million households. Of that it has 13,000 using JetStream proper, a penetration of 1.13%.

Telecom claims to have over 48,000 broadband customers, however it has revealed (JetStream numbers "horrifying") that 73% of those are using JetStream Starter, the 128 Kbit/s service which Telecom itself no longer claims to be broadband. That leaves 13,000 who are using the full rate JetStream service.

To beat that penetration rate, Wired Country only needs to acquire 178 residential customers, something Lancaster says shouldn't be a problem.

"We're definitely in single figures and rising rapidly into double figures [percentage wise]. We're getting new orders every day."

Lancaster says more than 60% of his customers are residential customers.

"We've got a lot of people who are working from home for one reason or another, rush-hour traffic usually."

TelstraClear boasts a higher broadband residential penetration rate as well, according to spokesman Ralph Little.

"Around 8.9% of our residential customers are on broadband, and by that we mean more than 256 Kbit/s."

Telecom has introduced a new product family, based around the 256Kbit/s service, in an attempt to lure new customers to broadband from both dial-up and JetStream Starter accounts.

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