Residents happy to see an end to ‘diabolical’ internet access but others continue to wait





Tussock Hill vineyard and cellar door restaurant owner John Targett is delighted Enable has decided to install fiber after all.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Stuff

Tussock Hill vineyard and cellar door restaurant owner John Targett is delighted Enable has decided to install fiber after all.

Residents in a hilltop Christchurch suburb will finally get fiber broadband without having to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege.

Thirty-six households at the top of Huntsbury Ave were told last year by Christchurch City Council-owned network provider Enable they would have to collectively pay $41,400 for fiber outside their homes when properties 350 meters away got it for free.

It was not cost-effective, Enable said at the time.

However, this week Enable told residents it had approved a plan to deploy its network to the top of Huntsbury.

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Enable engagement and sustainable development head Daniel Herd said the company had been looking at options to make it cost-effective to install fiber in the area.

It had managed to create a model that would work for Huntsbury and for about 10 homes at the top of Highsted Rd in Redwood.

Herd would not say how the company was able to make it cost-effective now, and not last year, because it was commercially sensitive.

“We are constantly looking at the figures and looking at how we can reach more customers.”

Herd said the fiber service should be available by the middle of the year.

Running a business without reliable internet has been challenging for Tussock Hill Vineyard and Cellar Door Restaurant.

JOHN KIRK ANDERSON/Stuff

Running a business without reliable internet has been challenging for Tussock Hill Vineyard and Cellar Door Restaurant.

The news has been welcomed by residents and the Targett​ family, who also own the Tussock Hill Vineyard and Cellar Door Restaurant.

They purchased the 4-acre vineyard five years ago and late last year opened a cellar door restaurant and plan to host guests overnight in two new self-contained retreats.

The internet connection went out multiple times a day, which made doing business difficult, John Targett said.

“It’s just diabolical. We’ve had to hot spot off mobile phones at times just to get Eftpos machines to work.”

He said it had never been about internet speed, it was about reliability.

“Connectivity is so important these days.”

STUFF

A group of Christchurch residents 350m beyond the edge of the city’s fiber broadband network face a costly bill to get connected. (First published May 2021)

Huntsbury resident Pat Channings said it was good news for the community, especially as more people were working from home due to Covid-19.

“We’re hoping for a huge improvement.”

Enable has rolled out fiber to about 95 per cent (165,000) of properties within the city council boundary.

While the news is good for Huntsbury residents, there are still about 8000 properties without access to fiber, including at the top of Worsleys Rd in Cracroft, who were told last year they would have to pay $82,800 before Enable installed fiber to 49 properties there.

Herd said the company was still looking at options for that community.

Other areas of the city also do not have access to fiber, including communities surrounding Lyttelton Harbor – including Cass Bay, Corsair Bay and Governors Bay – along with many lifestyle properties and smaller pockets of homes.

City councilor Tim Scandrett, who has been advocating on behalf of the residents, said it was great news Enable had listened to calls from Huntsbury residents, and he would continue to advocate for other areas without fiber including Worsleys.

He said a reliable internet connection was an essential service, especially with people working and studying from home.




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