Christchurch looks set to be the next battleground for fast Internet, with Telecom pre-empting launches by Ihug and Telstra-Saturn by announcing a major JetStream roll-out.
Telecom announced yesterday evening that that it is expanding the reach of JetStream in Christchurch by 50%. By the end of this year it expects to have added DSL technology to exchanges in Hillmorton, Linwood, St Albans and Islington, making available to nearly 126,000 customers in the city.
Ihug has had high sites in Christchurch for the terrestrial version of Ultra and is expected to launch soon. Telstra-Saturn is installing cable throughout the city and is promising to run past nearly every home in the city by July 2001.
Telecom's expansion will take fast Internet further out to the city's suburbs, as well as to more industrial estates and businesses outside the CBD.
Telecom's "southern partnering manager", Paul Deavoll, says the company is already installing DSL-based VPNs for Christchurch businesses.
"Across the country our customer base is growing by 80 to 100 a day, with around a third of our new connections now coming from residential customers, mainly home businesses," says Deavoll.
Telecom is also offering free installation for its new JetStream 400 service until the end of December - a saving of $300. The new JetStream package offers 400Mb of data (as opposed to 600Mb) for a total $99 per month through Xtra, with extra megabytes at 20 cents.
The company is also promising to sell JetStream modems - rather than rent them at $30 a month - "over the next few months".