Orcon's free fibre offer announced today is a bold move in a bid to kickstart UFB uptake in New Zealand
The ISP is offering its base UFB service free to residential customers, schools and businesses for the rest of 2012.
That includes free installation and a free 30GB plan worth $75. The company is also including its base plan to business and schools (worth $129 + GST a month) for the rest of the year.
Customers can upgrade their monthly data caps to 60GB for $14, 200GB for $24 and 1,000GB for an additional $124.
Fibre customers who take up the offer are then committed to a contract that runs from January to December 2013.
Of course, fibre hasn't been rolled out to everyone yet. You can check if your house qualifies here.
Orcon's Genius, which offered an all-in-one device providing broadband, wireless and VoIP, launched last year to a massive media blitz and subsequently was flooded with demand, resulting in some disgruntled customers.
Chief executive Scott Bartlett says if demand for the fibre exceeds expectations, the company will cut back on some of its marketing – but he sees it as a solid investment in the future.
“When we were the first to launch nationwide UFB pricing plans in March I said we wanted to lead the way in bringing fibre to New Zealand at prices everyone can afford."
And at a media announcement today, he challenged fibre companies to make all installs free of charge going forward.
Chorus, one of the four companies chosen by the government to manage the
rollout of UFB, also recently announced that all residential UFB
installations until the end of 2012 would be free.
Installation pricing from January 2013 is yet to be announced, however.
Telecommunications User Association chief executive Paul Brislen said: “TUANZ is delighted to see Orcon lay down a challenge like this. A price point of free is pretty spectacular and throws down the gauntlet to the other providers – if you want customers in the UFB world you’ll have to compete for them.”
Bartlett said there was a lot of misunderstanding around fibre, including perceptions that it was difficult or expensive to set up – a recent survey conducted by Perceptive for Orcon showed 43 percent of respondents either have no idea what UFB is or are unsure.
“We need to educate people about UFB and its benefits. Fibre is simply the best way to connect to the internet.”
He said UFB was the "most important infrastructure project the country has ever seen".
Bartlett said UFB really was a game-changer, offering New Zealand a better shot at competing on the world stage.
Orcon says of the 45,000 addresses that can receive Orcon UFB services right now, less than 200 have fibre, and that including all providers of UFB, just over 1,000 are connected.
By the end of the year, Orcon is projected to be able to provide UFB services to more than 140,000 premises around the country.