Ihug has based its rebranded fast Internet service, Ultra, around a 300-hour monthly limit, no data cap or hardware cost and monthly rates from $59.95.
Marketing for the new product began last night with a TV commercial voiced by Havoc's Jeremy "Newsboy" Wells and featuring a madeover computer-generated Ginge the Cat.
While Ultra operates on the same principle as Ihug's Satnet - with wireless downstream traffic and a dial-up return path - the company is using the rebranding to gather in improvements to hardware (including a new 35cm dish) and drivers. New multicast mail and news services allow users to receive messages without being dialled in.
Ihug urrently has two Auckland transmit sites, at the Sky Tower and Waiatarua, and a third is being established. Ultra is soon to be launched in the main centres, starting with Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton. Ihug's IDTV/Ultra manager Ron Theaker says bandwidth from each transmit site will be 45Mbit/s.
Subscribers out of range of the new terrestrial towers will be able to use a satellite direct version of Ultra.
Theaker says Ihug digital TV is still "not yet fully launched" and is only available in Auckland, for an extra $20 a month on top of Internet service or $29.95 stand-alone. All the accounts attract a signup fee of $99.
Details of the Ultra service are available on the Ihug Web site, which has been revamped into a portal for Ihug customers, with news, weather and links on the home page.