Ultrafast Fibre boss quits

Maxine Elliott

Maxine Elliott has resigned as CEO of Ultrafast Fibre (UFF). She will leave the company at the end of August.

A replacement has yet to be named. 

Ms Elliott says she's looking for a new challenge, but will take several months off to travel with her family first.

UFF, owned by lines company Wel Networks and Crown Fibre Holdings, holds the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) contract for Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Tauranga, Tokoroa, Whanganui, New Plymouth and Hawera.

The company says it has now laid fibre past 100,000 of its target 163,000 premises, making it one of the fastest rollouts in the country (the fastest being NorthPower Fibre in Whangarei, which has finished).

Parent company Wel says UFF now has $300 million in assets. But with customer update still in a single-digit percent of those within reach of fibre, the sums coming in the door are modest.

According to its annual report, the company lost $5.8 million in its 2013 financial year on just over $2 million revenue.

Look for a lift in the 2014 annual report, due shortly.

The number of premises passed has doubled since the 2013 report. UFF recently signed on Telecom (which holds around 50% of the ISP market) as a retailer, and is now getting 1000 connection orders a month, Ms Elliott says.

"The business is now well underway and meeting its targets. The next stage is to streamline the operations.”

She did not comment on her next challenge, beyond telling NBR she would "take a break first."

While Ms Elliott hasn't spoken directly to performance targets, Wel Networks GM of operations and fibre William Hamilton recently told NBR he could confirm UFF's rollout was "On track in fact slightly ahead of program. The budget is also on track."

And UFF's cost per premise is lower than that of the largest UFB contract holder, Chorus. Maybe the HR team there could give Ms Elliott a call.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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