Next phase of UFB rollout for Greymouth

Chorus have updated their maps in the last week to show UFB is now available in more areas in Greymouth.
It is still unclear which ISPs will be providing UFB in Greymouth – Snap is probably your best bet currently for home and basic business use; DTS can do business connections and apparently HD are offering both residential and business connections.  I assume Spark will also provide access here soon if they aren’t already. New fiber-only ISP, MyRepublic looks interesting, but they said they need a few interested people to sign up at once before they would install the required equipment in Greymouth.

Darker blue showing UFB availability October 2014

Darker blue showing UFB availability October 2014

Ultrafast broadband really changes the whole way we can think about how we use technology at home and business. At a ~50 user site, the changes we are looking at immediately once UFB is installed include:

    • Moving our email (Exchange) over to Office 365, instead of having to maintain an email server on-site
    • Using Windows Updates directly from Microsoft instead of caching them all on a server locally
    • Switching from a traditional web content filtering + caching solution to a fast, NGFW (Next-generation firewall) to reduce potential points of failure and bottleneck
    • Shifting more phone lines across to Voice over IP
    • Making more use of online backup services

Providing better remote access for staff wanting to work from home

Caution is also required going into the future. If your phone line is switched over to being provided through UFB instead of Chorus copper, you will lose phone access during power cuts. One thing that Telecom (Spark) have been fantastic at in the past is providing an incredibly reliable phone network, even in a power cut corded phones would still work, and even with a cable/fiber cut you were still able to at least call people locally.

Of course this is less important for some people these days with most people having cell phones, but we know from the Christchurch earthquake that cellphones a) also need power and b) get overloaded so can’t be relied upon.

The good news is that Spark currently aren’t requiring you to give up your landline, this will change in the future. When it does change, make sure you buy a good quality UPS (uninterruptible power supply) which could at least keep your phone running for a few hours. Let’s hope that they come up with a good quality, affordable UPS at the time that Spark start switching people over.

 

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