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. Different Limited and Jeff Oliver Print are two companies that have felt the full benefits of fibre broadband in Northland.
Different Limited is based out of Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei, which is a private sanctuary where a large group of artists live and make their crafts.
Matthew Lewis, owner of the company, says, "What's nice is to be able to live in a wonderful location like Northland and to be able to have a world-class connectivity."
Lewis says he's been on fibre for over a year, and with its symmetric service, he gets at least ten times faster upload speeds, which is essential to his business.
"The type of graphic design we do is generally for print production, but that also means that the file sizes are generally quite large. So transferring those files to the likes of a printer can be quite challenging", Lewis says.
Clients would be wanting to take their creative decision making down to the wire, with very fast deadlines.
"Once I got signoff, my job had only just begun really. I needed to transfer these files over to a printer," he continues.
The slow pace of copper networks means that a typical 100MB file could take 40-60 minutes to upload, but it came with dangers.
"Invariably it could fail at the last moment, which means it needed to be done again," he explains
But with the new fibre network, Lewis has been able to transfer files quickly and easily, without delay or danger.
"It takes a lot of stress out of our day; it's probably increased our productivity by at least 30%. Because we've got more time on our hands now, I'd like to employ some more staff, I think that just enables us to be able to take on more people because we can achieve more. We can have them utilising the same network, which means we're all working much faster and probably more importantly, a lot smarter," Lewis concludes.
Jeff Oliver Print is another Whangarei company that has eliminated the time wastage in manual design proofs.
"Before fibre, we used to have a lot of holdups in regards to couriering proofs; Matt would also have to come around here and sign off proofs, so we would obviously wait for him," says Dean Oliver, director of the company.
Waiting is a costly exercise, and Oliver says you can't afford it when every minute is a dollar wasted. Couriers and traffic are unnecessary, and there is a lot of money when you're holding up the press.
"When you do it via email, it's absolutely amazing because it's right there, it's instant. For us now we're saving huge amounts of time. And of course, we're cutting down the costs of hard copy proofing," he says.
The company went to fibre in 2011, which was right in the middle of a recession. The company was finding it very hard, but fibre has been a phenomenal business aid.
"Since having fibre put in, we've started to walk, run and now we're galloping. Basically our turnover, in 26 years of business, we've been the highest we've ever been," he explains
There's a lot of excitement about it; and it all helps the local economy too because people can see something big's happening here. Whangarei's the first, obviously, to get the best out of this and I think people are confident and very, very excited here about it," he concludes.