Orcon delivers NZ into fast broadband age

New Zealand effectively entered the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) age this week.

New Zealand effectively entered the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) age this week.

State-owned internet service provider (ISP) Orcon was the first provider to announce its UFB pricing plans. UFB sales to consumers and businesses also began, with promises of installation within a few weeks.

And, starting at NZ$75 per month, prices do seem "affordable", as Orcon claims.

Furthermore, the company also claims that its UFB offerings are no dearer than those offered on existing copper wires.

Of course, there are the usual grumbles.

There is the matter of data caps, even though Orcon offers a seemingly amazing 1TB plan.

Prices also seem a little bit more expensive than those in Australia, where in recent weeks NBN pricing plans have also been announced.

The British people get even cheaper broadband, and some of their plans have no caps at all!

At least Orcon has set the ball rolling, and it does look like the company has noted recent findings from the New Zealand Commerce Commission that most people and small businesses are unwilling to pay much extra for faster broadband, with Orcon CEO Scott Bartlett explaining that UFB will be a big change.

"The nationwide roll-out of fibre in New Zealand is one of the most important investments this country has ever seen — it is going to completely change the way we do business, and the way we live our lives," Bartlett said.

Kiwi businesses will be better armed to compete in the global economy, as the applications and services that high-speed broadband enables are profound, he said. Cloud computing, teleconferencing, telecommuting and much more all become a reality. This will lead to improved productivity, access to new markets, lower costs and higher gross domestic product.

"A fibred-up business community in New Zealand will transform our economy."

And that's before we even think about the benefit to the consumer in accessing online videos and entertainment, as well as online health services and e-government.

The hard sell truly has begun; we can only wait to see whether the fish will bite.

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