Laser days in the Hawke’s Bay sun

Internet Hawke's Bay is addressing the rural internet divide directly.

Internet Hawke’s Bay is addressing the rural internet divide directly.

The eight-year-old, eight-employee regional internet service provider, normally reticent about discussing its business, is rolling out a “world-leading” outdoor multi-point wireless transmission service.

The service has ranges of up to 20km and is suitable for both rural and city connections, IHB says. Developed in-house over four years, it offers streams of up to 11Mbit/s between transmitters.

It is available in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North and through an associate branch at Waipukurau. Technical director Andrew Johnston says it already has an established customer base.

IHB also offers alternative transmission systems, such as fibre and point-to-point laser, which Johnson says guarantees security because the beam can’t be broken. It provides 155Mbit/s capacity, meaning full ATM and frame relay can be offered. Ideal for voice and data transmission, laser is a sound alternative to frame relay and DDS, says Johnston. Wireless may run out of radio space in cities, but this will never be a problem for a laser service because it doesn’t use wireless frequencies.

IHB says the national carriers like Clear and Telecom do not adequately serve the regions, but the district has no problems with cellphones and bandwidth. And rather than filling a gap, Johnston says IHB “created the market” in Hawke’s Bay by setting up there several years before the “big boys”. As a local provider, he also claims higher standards of customer care.

Johnston and owner Don Price are locals, and love working in Hawke’s Bay.

IHB also offers corporate websites and has just completed an e-commerce website for Napier-headquartered jewellers Gemtime, said to be the first to comply with new Ministry of Commerce guidelines. It was implemented over eight months, and is heavily database-oriented using SQL servers to allow administration at each of the 30 stores, plus product galleries and purchasing.

Gemtime national retail manager Peter Alexander says the site is superb, with an incredible amount of programming detail and has had “no negative feedback”.

“It will be used as a model e-commerce site,” he says.

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