One gig per second internet is coming to households in cities across Aotearoa – and starting tomorrow.
Beginning on Thursday, Kiwis with a serious need for speed can sign up to the new “Gig” plans from Orcon, starting from $135 Naked and $140 with Homeline where fibre is available on a two-year plan. The plans will be available to residential households in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch.
The speeds are five times faster than the fastest Ultra-Fast Broadband currently available, and about 100 times faster than the average Kiwi home's copper broadband connection. They're so fast, in fact, that they're only common in markets including South Korea, Singapore, Japan and parts of the United States.
Taryn Hamilton, consumer general manager at Orcon, says the plans are “like the Usain Bolt” of internet speed. “We’re really excited to be launching Gig plans,” he says. “They are a massive leap from what most Kiwi homes have been used to, but if history has taught us anything it’s that technology moves quickly. In a few years, we could be looking back at fibre 100 plans with the nostalgia and mockery we now have for dial-up.”
Faster speeds are important, he says, because we use more devices now than ever before. “We already know Kiwi data requirements are changing, the average home now has more than 10 connected devices, we’re streaming movies and episodes in 4K and are plugged in 24/7. Our existing UFB plans are more than adequate for 90 percent of customers, but there is an appetite for one gigabit speeds among a select few.”
Hamilton says that Orcon has been providing Gig plans in Dunedin since 2014, but the time had come to roll it out in other cities. “When you are dealing with top end plans like this, it’s critical you have a network that supports moving huge amounts of data around,” he explains. “We cache more than 50 percent of our network traffic locally – whether it’s Apple updates, Netflix, YouTube, or other data hungry services – and this ensures we can provide what we need to provide to our Gig customers.”
As if signing up for faster internet wasn’t incentive enough, Hamilton says that Orcon is including an Xbox One S with all Gig plans on a 24-month contract. “We think this is a game changer,” he says. “Not only are we offering Gig, but in the Xbox One S you get a device that will make 4K streaming a breeze. At Orcon we like to innovate and change the market, and this offer marks out how serious we are about Gig.”
Xbox NZ lead Jane Dore says she believes streaming 4K movies and TV on Xbox One S will be seamless with Gig plans. “We’re particularly excited to see how gigabit plans will proliferate technological advancement and innovation,” she says. “The better the internet connection, the better the Xbox Live and online gaming experience will be, so it’s awesome to see Gig plans available to more Kiwis.”
While Gig plans may be more than most people need right now, for many customers it’s about future-proofing – or so says Rhys Dilks, general manager of Digihome, He says home automation is on the rise and, with that, comes a need for faster speeds.
Dilks adds that he recently helped install what could be called “New Zealand’s most connected home,” with more than 75 connected devices, giving the owner total control over all aspects of their home no matter where they are. “The entire house is connected and it’s completely wireless,” explains Dilks. “They can see who’s at the front door from anywhere in the world, lock their garage from down the street and can let a tradie into their home while they’re on holiday, and even talk to them via the video and audio links in the house. There are some super cool features like being able to open the blinds, control the lights and activate themed settings, as well as change the music and temperature with gesture or voice control.”
For a customer such as the owner of the home, a Gig plan might be a good idea, Dilks says. “For my customers, who want the best and are ahead of the curve, one gigabit plans are the top of the list.”