Sunday, 28 February 2021

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Coromandel communities slow to connect to ultrafast broadband

There has been a lukewarm reception for ultrafast broadband (UFB) across most of the Coromandel so far with residents in many areas slow to connect to the new fibre network.

UFB has been available in Matarangi since July last year, but to date the uptake for connection has been just 23 per cent. In Coromandel Town the figure sits at 33 per cent, while Hahei has 25 per cent of households connected. Thames, which was the first community on the Peninsula to be part of the roll-out, is faring better with a take-up rate of 51 percent.

Chorus is now actively trying to boost interest levels and in particular is targeting households and businesses in Matarangi by sending in a team of experts to dish out information and sign people up to make the move. “Subject to COVID-19 alert levels being at Level 1, on Wednesday 24 February, a team of Chorus experts will be on hand at Piper’s Cafe on Matarangi Drive to help residents who are yet to switch over to the [UFB] network,” the company has announced.

Invitations have been sent directly all households in Matarangi not currently connected to UFB. “There could be any number of reasons why some households have not yet switched to the UFB network,” Andrew Carroll, Chorus General Manager Customer and Network Operations, says. “Whether it is not being aware fibre is available, not knowing how to get connected or thinking it’s expensive to connect, we want to dispel any myths and provide good factual information about just how easy it is so Matarangi households can jump on the fibre bandwagon. The best news of all is that unless a driveway is longer than 200m, the cost of bringing fibre from the street into a home is usually free.”

Mr Carroll said if people who come to the information session at Piper’s Café are keen to get fibre immediately, staff could get the process started for them there and then. He emphasised that fibre would offer a more secure and stable connection for users against a backdrop of increasing demand. In 2011, the average Kiwi household was only using 10GB of data per month. Last month, that figure had grown to 403GB. Chorus predicts that the average household’s broadband use will balloon to 1,000GB per month by 2023.

“Recent events, and being under lockdown, have been truly unprecedented times and it’s not surprising to see that reflected in the way New Zealanders are now using their broadband,” mr Carroll says. “Now more than ever, having a robust broadband connection has proven critical as we’ve all had to adapt to working and learning from home. High bandwidth apps, such as Zoom, have become so important not just for business meetings but for people to stay in contact with friends and family. Our fibre network will also make it easier for Matarangi residents to stream services like Netflix, TVNZ on Demand, Neon, Sky Sport Now and Spark Sport. Being on fibre will mean no glitches, no buffering and no slowdown when the rest of your neighbourhood is streaming in the evenings.”

Chorus did not provide data on the current uptake for UFB in Whitianga, saying numbers were “still building” with the roll-out in the town completed only late last year.

Pictured: The UFB uptake in Matarangi sits at only 23 percent to date. Chorus is holding an information session at Piper’s Café on Matarangi Drive on Wednesday, 23 February to assist more households to sign up.

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