Chorus boss - parts of Wellington, Auckland could be in running for gigabit fibre competition
I said yes, and that when I tweeted about it, a number of people replied wondering if suburbs of Auckland or Wellington could be in the running (Mt Eden Village, anyone?).
Mr Ratcliffe (who is based in Wellington) volunteered that the capital's council wards could possibly be considered towns for the purposes of the competition - and that a similar approach could perhaps be taken to discrete areas of Auckland and other large centres.
But for now - as with any good Chorus negotiation - a variety of options are on the table as the company discusses possible terms with councils and other parties.
The Gigatown competition, in whatever final form it takes, will open in seven weeks' time.
UPDATE / Sept 5: A number of readers asked if the competition would cover the winning town's business fibre users. Chorus says at this point it's likely to be only residential customers who get 1 gigabit fibre at an enty-level UFB price (which would be around $70).
Residential customers will keenly await details of what data caps they'll get with that head-spinning 1000Mbit/s speed. Chorus says more details will emerge over the next seven weeks.
Ultrafast Fibre, Enable and Northpower, responsible for the 30% or so of the UFB not covered by Chorus, tell NBR they have plans to upgrade their top UFB speeds from 100Mbit/s to 1000Mbit/s, but no specific timeline.
At its annual result presentation last month, Chorus said it would upgrade fastest UFB plan to 200Mbit/s within the next year for all areas it covers.
EARLIER: Chorus says it will stage a competition that will give one New Zealand town gigabit (1000Mbit/s fibre) - or broadband that's 10 times the speed of that offered in other areas of the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout.
Spokesman Ian Bonnar tells NBR Online the finer deals are still being nailed down, and discussed with local councils.
What size towns will qualify?
Dunedin (population 126,000) is on the "out limit" of the size of town that will be included in the as-yet-unspecified competition.
Towns in the competition will have to be in UFB areas covered by Chorus (around 80% of urban areas. Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei and Whanganui are among the areas that will be excluded).
Mr Bonnar says the aim is to offer gigabit fibre to residents of the winning town at the same price as an entry-level UFB fibre plan today (most ISPs offer a fibre plan starting around $70 a month).
Chorus has put up a site promoting the competition, www.gigatown.co.nz, but as yet it only features a two-and-half-minute generic Chorus promo clip on the apparent benefits of a high spec fibre rollout that took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee