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Inside the Kiwi UFB experience - Icehouse & Andy Hamilton

27 Sep 16

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.

Icehouse is an Auckland-based business growth engine for New Zealand SMB owners and entrepreneurs. The company helps them to grow their business through expertise, funding or networks.

Andy Hamilton, Icehouse CEO, says fibre is about connection. To customers, to suppliers and to distributors.

"The nature of our business, working with companies who are operating offshore means we need massive speed, massive connection," he says.

"It seems over the years we've just had to add more and more in terms of fibre capacity. We've also had to learn how to configure your office to take advantage of the maximum download speed."

He says the amount of people using different devices and with different requirements can create challenges. Optimisation is the key.

"The opportunity that fibre creates for any business: first, you can take cost out of your business. Secondly, you can improve your speed - your efficiency. The first one you save money, the second one you actually make money," he says.

Cloud is also one of the most important things a business can consider, according to Hamilton.

"Put everything in the cloud. That reduces the risk of your business stopping and losing all your files. Collaboration is another really important thing. Being able to work with your distributors, suppliers, customers, staff, all really, really important."

James McLeod, head of Spark business and marketing, says Icehouse is a company that knows fibre's strengths.

"Three key things that keep coming up: Cloud, content, collaboration. Businesses can be more productive and more efficient. From a productive perspective, they're actually able to spend more time online, more staff online, without impacting their experience," McLeod says.

"From an efficiency perspective, you can send large files to customers and they can send them back almost instantaneously with their feedback and there's no loss of time, days, and it's just far more efficient to get work done," he concludes.

"We've pretty much got everything in the cloud now and that means all my guys can work from home, work from the office, work from other people's offices and that is significant for their life balance. It's also significant for productivity," Hamilton adds.

"You can't beat the speed and the improvement in latency and efficiency that you get with it. I think it's something about being part of this connected world, and that's pretty cool," Hamilton concludes.

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