Today, Hamilton-based Ultrafast Fibre is launching a trial of exponentially faster internet speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) for the 52 internet retailers servicing the 230,000 residents and businesses in the Central North Island region.
The trial of significantly faster next generation fibre broadband kicks off as the company wraps up its second phase of the government's Ultra-fast Broadband rollout (UFB2 and UFB2+), providing an additional 27 towns and around 30,000 more customers with access to UFF's 3,500km fibre infrastructure this year.
Six retailers have already expressed an interest in trialling the new technology with the likelihood of UFF launching new, very fast services over the technology next year, beginning with new 2Gbps and 4Gbps services for both upload and download speeds.
Data as well as voice, and multicast functionality will be provided using the “XGS-PON” fibre technology standard developed by the International Telecommunications Union in 2016.
Retailers will be able to access the new technology over UFF's network infrastructure, which spans a geographical area across Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Whanganui and Tokoroa.
The trial is expected to run until the end of February 2020.
New Zealand businesses with a need for cutting-edge performance cloud software and transfer vast amounts of data are expected to be early adopters of the trial via their retail service providers.
UFF CEO John Hanna says, “We are building next-generation products for the very near-future, so that we stay well ahead of demand for new applications, devices, and other emerging digital transformation scenarios, many of which haven't been invented yet.
“Unlocking exponentially superior broadband capability will bring significant innovation and productivity gains to businesses, as well as new ways to connect and collaborate. The future of fibre is exciting!
The demand for bigger, better, faster fibre broadband is on the rise in the Central North Island, with 30% of new customers connecting to UFF's fibre network in November 2019 opting for a 1Gbps connection.
Hanna says while most households on UFF's 1Gbps connection are not using all of the capacity available to them, delivering fibre to almost every conceivable device within the connected home is not far away.
Meanwhile, with the second phase of UFF's fibre build soon to be completed, the company expects uptake in these towns will grow rapidly.
Stratford and Omokoroa have already reached 50% uptake, with other UFB2 towns like Huntly, Kihikihi, and Ngaruawahia registering the fastest number of new fibre connections across the entire UFF network last month.
This compares to the uptake among UFF's UFB1 towns, which is now over 63%, with Hamilton and Tauranga ranked among the top 10 in the country for UFB uptake at 67%.
UFF Growth Stats
- When the first phase of the UFF rollout was completed in 2015, the average customer connection speed was around 50Mbps and the average monthly internet data usage was 12GB. Now, it's over 100Mbps and 280Gb respectively.
- Original target for the uptake of fibre was 45 percent by the end of 2019, actual uptake today is 63 percent for UFB1 and over 35% for UFB2 towns.
- New peak time record of 362Gbps witnessed when popular game Fortnite issued an update in October, with the second highest peak coinciding with the quarter finals of Rugby World Cup, with the second highest peak at 352Gbps.
- More than 30% of new customers connecting to UFF's 3,500km fibre network are opting for 1Gbps connection.
The UFF network currently represents about 13% of the entire national UFB build, operating a 3,500km fibre network across Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth and Whanganui. The company is owned by Waikato Networks Ltd – a partnership between neighbouring companies WEL Networks (85%) and Waipa Networks (15%). UFF completed the first phase of the government's UFB rollout programme (UFB1) in 2015, and is expected to complete the second phase, UFB2 and UFB2+, to 27 new towns by the end of 2019, ahead of schedule.