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Communities transform - Whakatane UFB build now complete

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

Ian Bonnar, executive member of Chorus, says UFB has the potential to transform New Zealand’s economy and its communities.

“So we’re really looking forward to seeing how the Whakatane community can take advantage of having world-class connectivity right on their door step,” he says.

“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,” explains Bonnar.

“People have higher expectations of broadband performance as our usage behaviour changes and the internet becomes integral to every aspect of life.”

For many New Zealand communities, Chorus reports that the impact on businesses and the economy has already started to gain momentum – including Whakatane.

White Island Tours is one of those businesses; Patrick O’Sullivan, marketing manager, says fast, reliable internet is increasingly important for selling White Island Tours to potential customers.

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,” says O’Sullivan.

The newer motel units have also been installed with smart TVs, and in the future customers will be able to use them for Netflix, social media, video chat and internet browsing.

“The Wi-Fi extends to the café, and we encourage our customers to stop in after visiting the volcano to buy a coffee and a snack, share their photos and video online, and - hopefully - post a positive review on a travel website like TripAdvisor,” he adds.  

“Moving to Ultra-Fast Broadband has revolutionised how we run the business, too. 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.”

The business says cloud storage has also provided some peace of mind with regards to back up in the event of a natural disaster.