Enable Services Limited (ESL) has reported a "significant acceleration" in the local ultra-fast broadband (UFB) roll-out and an even more aggressive programme for the coming year.
In its 2014 Annual Result, the business is now setting itself a target to deliver fibre broadband services to all 180,000 homes, schools and businesses by the end of 2018 – a year ahead of schedule.
“It has been a very good year for ESL in its roles as a major investor in Enable Networks Limited (Enable) – the local fibre company – and as the contractor building and operating the fibre broadband network for Enable," says Mark Bowman, Chair, ESL.
Bowman says ESL completed new network build to over 25,000 home and business premises, increasing the total coverage to 56,553 potential customers.
"We are almost a third of the way through the project and will be half-way through by this time next year – with 88,000 potential customers able to access fibre broadband," he adds.
“This result is very satisfying given that Christchurch still presents a challenging post-earthquake operating environment."
Bowman says Enable has delivered connection numbers ahead of business plan which is a "very strong result" with only two retail service providers offering residential services for the majority of the year.
ESL also reported that Enable had 4,477 homes, businesses and schools connected to its network at year end - an increase from 1,454 total connections at the end of the previous year.
“The success of ESL’s investment in Enable will ultimately be measured by how quickly customers take up fibre broadband, so the ESL Board was very pleased to see this connection rate and the associated increase in Enable’s revenue at this early stage," Bowman adds.
The business’ monthly connection rate grew from 42 customer connections in June 2013 to 530 in June 2014. The growth trend has continued into the current year with 600 customers per month being connected on average.
“This monthly connection rate along with the fact that eight retail service providers – including Spark and Vodafone – are now offering residential fibre broadband services positions Enable for much greater uptake numbers this year,” Bowman adds.