Ultrafast Fibre will finish building an 3000 km ultra fast fibre optic broadband network in the North Island six months ahead of schedule.
Ultrafast Fibre chief executive William Hamilton said the organisation had until June, 2016, to complete the five year build, but it would be finished early.
"We've got a bit of Hamilton, and a little bit of Tauranga to go," Hamilton said of what he described as "the biggest investment in ICT technology in years".
Ultrafast Fibre, in Ken Browne Dv, Hamilton, was established by WEL Networks in 2010 to build, under government contract, the ultrafast broadband network in parts of the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Manawatu-Wanganui regions representing about 13 per cent of the entire national ultra-fast broadband build.
By September 1 Ultrafast Fibre had built 85 per cent of Hamilton's network with 46,403 properties ready for service, with 8,245 to go.
Ultrafast Fibre has already finished in Cambridge, where it can serve 6,878 premises, Te Awamutu, available to 5,299, and Tokoroa, 4918.
"The whole lot is going to be done by December 11 and then it goes into user acceptance testing."
Until then about 300 contractors will continue building the $300 million network ordered through a government contract covering parts of the upper North Island.
"We had 500 contractors at one stage, it's about 300 now but now connections are coming along we will 200 contractors on connections."
Much of the network, which offers minimum speeds of up to 30 megabits per second, is already in use but Ultrafast Fibre needs to test the parts that are not before it can be made operational.
"It should be available for connection in early January," Hamilton said.
Ultrafast Fibre's contract also takes in New Plymouth, Hawera and Whanganui, which are also complete.
"I think the first thing is the contractor, Transfield Services, took the bullet between the teeth and really got organised and then got into a rhythm.
"We have also had no real surprises, no real delays. We have had a really good run considering the amount of disruption we could have had."
Ultrafast Fibre's success, and the efforts of other companies like it around the world, has put New Zealand in a good place for high speed internet connectivity.
"We are now the top of the OECD," Hamilton said.
"New Zealanders are always the leaders. Everything that is new we seem to adopt early."
Ultrafast fibre packages are available from 38 retailers in Hamilton.
"Our orders are peaking at 4,000 connections a month," Hamilton said. "A year ago it was we were getting 800 a month."
The Government has given the likes of Ultrafast Fibre until October 28 to bid for the next phase of the build which aims to make fibre accessible to at least 80 per cent of the population.
The $210 million extension will include some of the Waikato's smaller settlements.
"I don't think we will see any indication of who will do what work until next year," he said.
Chris Gardner - Stuff
Image: Robert Charles, Fairfax NZ