After a seemingly endless trial (it began in September 2010), TelstraClear has commercially launched a major upgrade to its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable service, offering customers download speeds of up to 100Mbit/s (or roughly 10 times that of the copper DSL broadband connections that service most New Zealand homes.
Previously, the company's cable servcice topped out at 25Mbit/s.
TelstraClear boss Allan Freeth has decried the government's $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB roll-out) as "network socialism" that will dampen private investment.
Nevertheless, his company has invested in the current upgrade, which spokesman Gary Bowering said is available to 150,000 homes in the greater Wellington area, and Christchurch (the company declined to say how many cable customers it has a t present.).
Technically, this week is a relaunch.
TelstraClear first tried selling a 100Mbit/s service in Christchurch, for a bracing $230.
An insider told NBR the number of takers could be counted, literally, on the fingers of one hand.
"The launch of the 100Mbit/s service was postponed as there was low market demand for it. We believe that there is now enough demand for the higher speed," Mr Bowering said this afternoon.
TelstraClear's new 100Mbit/s service costs $115 a month with a 100GB data cap, or $155.95 with a 150GB data cap.
On both plans, upload speed is 10Mbit/s, and extra data costs $2.95 per 2GB pack.
By contast, the first retail ISP to launch as UFB plan, Orcon, is charging $110 a month for a 100Mbit/s plan with a 30GB cap and $2/GB overage (a step-down plan costs $75 a month for 30Mbit/s down/10Mbit/s up and a 30GB cap. More on Orcon's plans here).
Orcon includes its Genius internet phone calling. Mr Bowering said TelstraClear's residential plans do not include VoIP.
Although TelstraClear opposed the UFB, Mr Bowering said the company was developing broadband offerings on many fronts, and that would include service over Crown fibre.