Casita Miro, Waiheke Island
Before getting fibre, owners Barnett Bond and Cat Vosper’s business was being stymied by their slow internet. The Eftpos machine would go down when restaurant customers were trying to pay, leaving queues at the till. The accounting, booking and vineyard management systems are all in the cloud, so slow, unreliable, internet was stopping staff doing their jobs.
Almost worse, Mr Bond had to endure a long commute into Auckland Hospital every time he had to look at a patient file - despite the district health board having a secure encrypted internet system designed so doctors could work remotely. It just did not work from Waiheke. That all changed earlier this year, when Casita Miro got fibre.
“It’s made a world of difference. From the first day, speeds were incredible and we didn’t have any more problems with reliability,” said Mr Bond. He can do a lot of his hospital work from home, reviewing big patient files, including scans and x-rays.
“My laptop in my office at home might as well be my computer at my desk in the hospital. I can be processing patient files at the same time everything else is going on.” Fibre also means the restaurant business now runs smoothly.
“Fibre broadband means we can have staff members in the office doing accounts or taking restaurant bookings, we can have the chef in the kitchen making orders on the internet, and we can have customers in the restaurant accessing the internet via Wi-Fi.”
Assistant General Manager Wayne Rose says that with more than 800,000 tourists visiting Skyline Queenstown each year, having a world-class fibre network is a necessity.
“Fundamentally, it’s changed the way we operate. We’re now able to provide a fast, effective service to our guests as they come through the complex.
“We need UFB broadband for various aspects of the business. This could be from ticket sales to scanning through a gate or providing access to social media.
“Since we got fibre, we’ve seen a huge spike in photo sales because the team and guests are able to interact so much faster.”
The Electra Group, Levin
In addition to being a lines company, Levin-based Electra Group group is the country's biggest meter-reading company, the second largest installer of mobile telephone networks and a growing player in the security alarm and aged care monitoring and response business, via its company Securely.
CEO Neil Simmonds says it was difficult to run as one company when there were communication barriers. The company had constant challenges trying to make decisions because its telecommunications systems were not up to having easy conversations on a day-to-day basis.
That all changed when the company connected to fibre.
Now video and web conferencing are a normal part of running the business, and the ability for staff across the business to access information and communicate with each other has increased dramatically.
"Fibre has been fantastic. Having fibre has helped us leapfrog ahead from where Electra was just three years ago. It's like we've been able to suddenly skip two generations and bring in the latest technology.
"It's cheaper, it's faster, it’s better, it’s more resilient, and it opens opportunities going forward. There’s no down side."
White Island Tours, Whakatane
Marketing Manager Patrick O’Sullivan says fast, reliable internet is increasingly important for selling White Island Tours to potential customers.
As well as the tour operation, the company also has a 28-unit motel, a café and a gift shop.
“Guests can now communicate seamlessly with family and friends via Facebook, Skype, or Facetime, and they can send photos and video.”
The newer motel units all have smart TVs in them too, and in the future customers will be able to use the screens for video-on-demand services such as Netflix, social media, video chat and browsing the web.
“The Wi-Fi extends to the café, and we encourage our customers to stop in after visiting the volcano to buy a coffee and a snack, share their photos and video online, and - hopefully - post a positive review on a travel website like TripAdvisor.”
When White Island Tours opened nine new motel units recently, it did not put phones in any of them. The company knew virtually all their customers had smartphones, so offering them free, fast, unlimited Wi-Fi internet access was far more useful than giving them the means to make landline phone calls.
“Moving to Ultra-Fast Broadband has revolutionised how we run the business, too. In the past, there was a server on the premises, and every night staff would back up the day’s data onto magnetic tape and trundle it through the building to be stored in a fireproof box at the back. Now everything is in the cloud.”
Cloud storage has also given the company peace of mind that the business could get back up and running quickly in the event of an earthquake or flood.