Chorus has finished building its Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network in Whakatane, meaning about 7000 households, businesses, schools and health facilities now have access to fibre.
“UFB has the potential to transform New Zealand’s economy, our communities, and the way we connect to the rest of the world,” Chorus executive member, Ian Bonnar, said.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing how the Whakatane community can take advantage of having world-class connectivity right on their door step.
“There are changing consumer needs when it comes to broadband, both for households and businesses and the UFB initiative has been an integral part of meeting this change.
“People have higher expectations of broadband performance as our usage behaviour changes and the internet becomes integral to every aspect of life.”
Bonnar said the impact on businesses and the economy has also started to gain a momentum that can be felt in many communities, including Whakatane.
Locally, White Island Tours is one such business benefiting from UFB.
“Fast, reliable internet is increasingly important for selling White Island Tours to potential customers,” White Island Tours marketing manager, Patrick O’Sullivan, added.
As well as the tour operation, the company also has a 28-unit motel, a café and a gift shop.
“Guests can now communicate seamlessly with family and friends via Facebook, Skype, or Facetime, and they can send photos and video,” O’Sullivan explained.
As explained by O’Sullivan, the newer motel units all have smart TVs, and in the future customers will be able to use the screens for video-on-demand services such as Netflix, social media, video chat and browsing the web.
“Moving to Ultra-Fast Broadband has revolutionised how we run the business, too,” he added.
“In the past, there was a server on the premises, and every night staff would back up the day’s data onto magnetic tape and trundle it through the building to be stored in a fireproof box at the back. Now everything is in the cloud.”
O’Sullivan said cloud storage has also given the company “peace of mind” that the business could get back up and running quickly in the event of an earthquake or flood.