Spark Partners with UnisonFibre for Home and Small Business Fibre Installations

February 01, 2017 10:50 AM
Robert Monteith, Spark’s Regional Leader for the Hawkes Bay (right) and Mike McGarvey, General Manager, UnisonFibre (left) meet at the new Spark Hastings store which is now running fibre over a Unison connection.

Unison is partnering with Spark for the installation of fibre for residential and small business customers in the Napier, Hastings, Taupo and Rotorua regions. 

Spark will use UnisonFibre to connect new customers to Spark fibre broadband, in areas covered by the UnisonFibre network. UnisonFibre has an extensive fibre network, with more than 700kms of cabling reaching nearly 13,000 homes and businesses across the Hawke’s Bay region and Taupo and Rotorua – and offers fibre network capabilities equivalent to those available via the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network in other parts of New Zealand.

UnisonFibre’s network was originally built to serve larger businesses with fibre connectivity. While its network largely overlaps with the UFB roll out, some extra homes and small businesses that don’t currently have UFB fibre available will now be able to be connected via Spark and UnisonFibre. Making fibre available to these additional properties aligns well with Spark’s Upgrade New Zealand strategy, which aims to move as many customers as possible off copper broadband and onto newer broadband technologies such as fibre.

Customers can check if fibre is available to them on the Spark address checker. Spark has already successfully provisioned a number of fibre installations for residential and small business customers through UnisonFibre during December and January.

Robert Monteith, Spark’s Regional Leader for Hawke’s Bay, says, “We think this partnership is a really positive move for the communities to which the Unison group is already the local electricity networks company. UnisonFibre will help Spark provide a great fibre installation experience for our customers. They have an in-house call centre and their own fibre technicians out in the field which helps keep the installation process simple and creates a positive experience for our customers. They also have access to overhead power lines through their parent company Unison, so, in some cases, can avoid the need for extensive trench digging to lay fibre cables to properties.” 

UnisonFibre General Manager, Mike McGarvey said the residential agreement with Spark will drive significant value for UnisonFibre, extending its reach in the residential market even further.

“Spark and UnisonFibre already have a strong working relationship that has developed through connecting Spark Digital customers. It’s a relationship based on mutual respect and shared values – delivering a quality connection and a responsive, on-time personal service for our customers.

“Our team is thrilled to build on this strong foundation while connecting residential customers to better, faster broadband services through our network in Hawke’s Bay, Rotorua and Taupo.”

Spark has been working with UnisonFibre since 2013 on managed data services for Spark’s corporate and enterprise customers. Over the past year, the companies have worked together to adjust these services for Spark’s residential and small business customers.” 

Rob Berrill, GM of Physical Infrastructure for Spark, explains, “Unison have proven to be an excellent partner over the past three years, helping us provide managed data for larger businesses in the region. Based on our experience, we’re confident they are well placed to help us accelerate fibre uptake with our residential and small business customers.”