Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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Singapore-owned ISP just days away from NZ launch — and it'll be all UFB, all of the time

Chris Keall
Thu, 02 Oct 2014

A new ISP is about to launch: My Republic, owned by the Singapore provider of the same name.

MyRepublic has set a date for its launch event: October 8.

Like it's parent, My Republic NZ will offer fibre-only plans.

MyRepublic Singapore has a reputation for superfast broadband with a huge cap, and is credited with driving down the price of fibre after it entered the market (it's currently offering a 1 gigabit/s plan for $49 — our dollars are at rough parity).

The lay of the land is a little different here, with all the UFB companies operating within the parameters of Crown Fibre Holdings' template pricing. 

Still, I'm expecting MyRepublic to shake things up a little.

Certainly, it's different from rivals with its fibre-only stance. 

On MyRepublic's sign-up page you get no carefully-worded marketing on the virtues of UFB fibre vs VDSL (faster copper) or ADSL. It's all UFB, all of the time.

Small addressable market
In any August 5 update, the government said UFB fibre is now rolled passed 517,000 premises, with 39,510 customers (or 7.7%) chosing to connect, according to the latest MBIE update released by ICT Minister Amy Adams.

That's a modest addressable market for a fibre specialist like MyRepublic. 

Hopefully the entry of a fibre specialist will help kick things along, raise the UFB's profile, and see a bit more education about the benefits of fibre in this age of cloud computing, remote working and changing content consumption habits.

New ISP, familiar face
MyRepublic actually setup shop in January. 

Its operation is headed by Vaughan Baker — until recently head of IT outsourcing at Vodafone.

In the months since, Baker recruited staff and, more recently, has been running live trials with pilot customers.

Beyond the motivation of having no copper broadband revenue to fall back on, Baker tells NBR, "We will offer a superior customer experience, innovative products and services for a reasonable price."

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. 

No copper to fall back on
He told NBR earlier, "From an industry perspective, legacy copper networks are much more profitable, which explains why incumbent providers aren't encouraging customers to move to fibre. It's up to us to introduce greater competition, to offer attractive services at affordable prices and help fibre really take off."

Baker says MyRepublic will work with all four UFB companies — Chorus, Enable, Northpower Fibre and Wel Netorks' Ultrafast Fibre.

MyRepublic is open to the possibility of local investors, but for the moment it's 100% owned by its Singapore parent.

Chris Keall
Thu, 02 Oct 2014
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Singapore-owned ISP just days away from NZ launch — and it'll be all UFB, all of the time