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Inside the Kiwi UFB experience: White Island Tours

By Sean Mitchell, Mon 3 Oct 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative is a New Zealand Government programme that aims to bring high-speed fibre to 75% of NZ homes and businesses over 10 years.

The company that manages the $1.5 billion project is Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH), a Crown-owned company.

CFH has also partnered up with Northpower, Waikato Networks, Enable Services and Chorus to help implement the initiative.

At this stage, around 19 of New Zealand's towns and cities have access to UFB, providing Kiwi businesses with the opportunity to further improve day to day operations. 

Chorus has just finished deploying its Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network to around 7000 houses, businesses, schools and other facilities in Whakatane including White Island Tours.

Patrick O’Sullivan is the marketing manager for White Island Tours. He says with the number of visitors fast approaching 15,000 per annum, it’s important that they provide a stable and fast internet connection.

“Because we have visitors from all around the world, we find that they are very well connected. They’re using social media a lot and we’re really hoping that before they get home from their travels they are posting pictures of White Island and tagging us in. So we like to be able to promote that by providing them with free Wi-Fi as well,” explains O’Sullivan.  

“When we moved to fibre we found that the costs were basically the same as our previous ADSL connection so it was a no brainer to shift really. And we get significantly more data per month as well, so not a hard decision at all to move to fibre,” he says.

O’Sullivan explains that previously the business had caps on its Wi-Fi amount, but with UFB they no longer need to worry.

Gerard Casey, CEO of the Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce says that White Island Tours is a real icon within the region for tourism, with a goal to increase visitors.

“If we can gain another 10 or 15 thousand visitors that visit here, then the whole town will grow,” he says.

“For us UFB is a game-changer, if people are going to get out of Auckland and come and live in a place like this and do business here then we have to offer the same services and speed of internet here,” explains Casey.

“Fibre is going to enable White Island to grow, and with White Island growing our businesses will grow.”

See the video here

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