According to the Dominion Post, Kiwi telco TelstraClear, which operates a hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network in Wellington and Christchurch, has abandoned plans to launch a 100Mbps broadband service over its Wellington network, blaming a lack of customer demand; the operator also confirmed that it has withdrawn its existing 100Mbps service in Christchurch on the same grounds. TelstraClear, a subsidiary of Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra, commenced its trial of the 100Mbps download service (with corresponding upload speeds of 10Mbps) in Wellington in September 2010, with unofficial plans to launch the service commercially last month. When questioned about TelstraClear’s intentions, spokesman Gary Bowering said that the technology was in place to introduce 100Mbps services, but TelstraClear will ‘keep them out of the market until such time as demand warrants their release’. However, Bowering indicated that the company is happy to address the specific needs of customers, and may consider making the service available on a case-by-case basis, commenting: ‘If there was a customer need, we could work with that customer to provide a solution’.
TelstraClear launched its 100Mbps service in Christchurch in 2008, priced at NZD230 (USD191.5) per month; the tariff attracted less than 20 customers prior to being withdrawn. TeleGeography notes that the government’s impending Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative is set to provide high speed fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections to 33 ‘candidate areas’ – including Wellington and Christchurch – by 2020. The open access UFB is expected to allow ISPs to retail 100Mbps connections for around NZD100 per month.