Singapore-owned, fibre-only ISP sets up shop in NZ
"I use My Republic in Singapore. The service is pretty good so far, solid connection, stable speeds, monthly bill to credit card and no locked-in contract with unwanted bundling"Featured comment
Singapore-owned internet service provider MyRepublic has set up shop in NZ, and says it will offer fibre-only plans from mid-year.
The NZ subsidiary will be managed by Vaughan Baker - until recently head of IT outsourcing at Vodafone.
Beyond the motivation of having no copper broadband revenue to fall back on, Mr Baker says "we will offer a superior customer experience, innovative products and services for a reasonable price" although he's yet to detail pricing and plans.
Mr Baker is best-known as the CEO of the Regional Fibre Group - the coalition of lines companies, power companies and fibre network operators, led by Vector, that mounted an unsuccessful nationa bid for the UFB rollout. In the event, Chorus won most of the country, but Regional Fibre Group members Enable (Christchurch), Northpower (Whangarei) and Wel Networks (Hamilton, Tauranga) won pockets of the country.
MyRepublic - credited with lowering broadband prices after it started up in Singapore - is pitching itself as a fibre-only ISP and plans to deliver products and services specifically designed for the UFB network.
Just 14,248 customers have signed up to UFB services of the 322,479 able to connect as at Sept. 30, and MyRepublic is aiming to grab market share while it's still unclaimed.
"From an industry perspective, legacy copper networks are much more profitable, which explains why incumbent providers aren't encouraging customers to move to fibre," Mr Baker. "It's up to us to introduce greater competition, to offer attractive services at affordable prices and help fibre really take off."
In a 2012 report on demand-side drivers for ultrafast broadband services, the Commerce Commission identified access to content, data cap charges and the cost of connecting as likely to influence uptake.
More recently, telecommunications network operator Chorus, which is building the bulk of the UFB, has argued that cuts to its regulated copper line service prices will undermine migration to fibre by making the older technology a cheaper alternative.
Mr Baker said the uptake of fibre services has been slow relative to the roll-out of the network, following a similar pattern seen in Singapore.
Since the company entered the Singapore market, fibre pricing has dropped, and the company this year launched 1 gigabit per second services in the Asian city-state.
MyRepublic is expected to charge based on the speed of its services, rather than using data caps, which is the norm in the local market, and anticipates this will be attractive to content providers.
Mr Baker tells NBR MyRepublic will work with all four UFB companies - Chorus, Enable, Northpower Fibre and Wel Netorks' Ultrafast Fibre.
He has yet to comment on customer or market share targets.
He says local investors will come onboard (the Companies Office lists MyRepublic NZ as a fully-owned subsidiary) but he has yet to name them.
It's not directly useful to checkout MyRepublic's plans in Singapore, given the city state has a different network setup and wholesale pricing regime, but if you're curious its home page is here. But for the record it offers up to 500Mbit/s upload and 1000Mbit/s (or 1Gibt/s) download from $S49/month with no BitTorrent blocking. ($S49 = $NZ51).