Spark has formed a partnership with network company Unison for the installation of fibre for residential and small business customers in the Napier, Hastings, Taupo and Rotorua regions through Unison’s fibre optic network subsidiary UnisonFibre.
According to Unison’s web site, UnisonFibre is a wholesale provider of a fibre to the premises network spanning over 700 kilometres and passing over 5,000 businesses and 3,000 residential properties in business and residential areas of Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua. It is based on Alcatel-Lucent technology.
However, according to Spark, the network now reaches nearly 13,000 homes and businesses across Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua, and offers fibre network capabilities equivalent to those available via the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network in other parts of New Zealand.
The network was built to serve larger businesses with fibre connectivity and largely overlaps the UFB network, but serves some extra homes and small businesses that do not currently have access to UFB.
According to Spark, making fibre available to these additional properties aligns well with its upgrade strategy, which aims to move as many customers as possible off copper broadband and onto newer broadband technologies such as fibre.
Spark says it has provisioned a number of fibre installations for residential and small business customers through UnisonFibre during December and January.
Robert Monteith, Spark’s regional leader for Hawke’s Bay said UnisonFibre had an in-house call centre and its own fibre technicians in the field, which would help keep the installation process simple and create a positive experience for customers.
“They also have access to overhead power lines through their parent company Unison, so, in some cases, can avoid the need for extensive trench digging to lay fibre cables to properties,” he added.
Spark has been working with UnisonFibre since 2013 on managed data services for Spark’s corporate and enterprise customers, and says that over the past year, the two companies had worked together to adjust these services for Spark’s residential and small business customers.