The major provider of internet services for Computers in Homes families, SNAP, announced today that it has negotiated agreements with LFCs in most Computers in Homes regions that will enable it to provide UFB internet services at the same price as Naked DSL services. “This is a major breakthrough for Computers in Homes families,” said Laurence Zwimpfer, who chairs the programme for the 2020 Communications Trust. “We have been concerned for some time now that UFB pricing would put fibre internet services out of reach of families in low income communities; this offer from SNAP levels the playing field. I have instructed all our coordinators to offer a UFB connection to families as the first choice.”
SNAP will be offering a 30M download/10M upload naked UFB service for $60 per month (incl GST) on the same terms as their current Naked DSL service for Computers in Homes families. Families will have a data cap of 50GB/month and unlimited YouTube (an increase over the existing 30GB/month data cap). As with existing Naked DSL services, there will be no overuse charges – the connection speed will simply throttle back for the remaining portion of the month. The Computers in Homes programme subsidises internet costs during the first year; this means families can obtain access to this service for just $10 per week or $15 per week when the subsidy ends. The programme also funds a wireless-enabled modem/router providing access for mobile devices as well as the Computers in Homes desktop computer.
A particular challenge with UFB services to date has been the high cost of early termination charges. All fibre providers are permitted to charge early termination fees (ETF) under the terms of the local fibre company (LFC) Wholesale Services Agreement. To date this has meant that if a family moves during the initial 12 months, they are liable for the full cost of the remaining months of the 12-month contract. This is particularly problematic for many Computers in Homes families, who are often quite mobile. However, SNAP announced today that they have negotiated a waiver of the ETF for Computers in Homes families with key local fibre companies.
SNAP is able to provide UFB services in all Computers in Homes regions, except Whangarei, Whakatane and Gisborne. Service will be available in Whangarei from 1 December 2014 and in Whakatane in January 2015. The timeframe for Gisborne is yet to be confirmed.