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Broadband key for remote luxury resort

Broadband key for remote luxury resort

Six years ago, critics said rural isolation would hinder a planned luxury resort at the foot of Canterbury’s Southern Alps.

Today, Terrace Downs High Country Resort – a 50 minute drive from Christchurch International Airport - is fast becoming one of New Zealand’s premier private and commercial tourism destinations, offering luxury accommodation, conference facilities and a world-class golf course.

A recently completed installation of Telecom’s broadband service JetStream is set to add to the resort’s business appeal and prove the critics wrong, managing director Scott Sanders says.

“We set out to target the high-end business market with a resort that balanced business and leisure needs.

“A lot of people said we were too geographically isolated, but we always recognised that broadband would eventually allow people to work where and when they wanted,” he says.

“In the modern business world, resorts like Terrace Downs are set to become increasingly popular, as long as the communications infrastructure is in place. With JetStream, isolation is no longer an issue for our guests and owner-occupiers.”

The resort, when completed, will have a finite number of residential fairway chalets, luxury terrace villas and lodge suites, all owned by private investors who can live in them, reserve them for holiday visits or lease them back to the resort for guest accommodation.

Terrace Downs chalet owner Phil Donnithorne, who is managing director of the Maxwell Group of Logistic Companies, visits most weekends with his family.

The company has a head office in Christchurch and logistic operations in Auckland and Australia, which are linked into a shared private network, connected by broadband. The network can be accessed remotely by key staff, meaning they can work where they want.

“My whole working life these days is the computer and the Internet,” Mr Donnithorne says.

“Technology means I can access my office remotely so I don’t really need to go into the office at all.

“However, we’ve been on a dial-up connection at Terrace Downs, which has been frustratingly slow and a disincentive to work from there.

“Clearly, the new broadband connection at Terrace Downs will make staying there longer even better, and make the resort even more attractive to the business tourist.”

Construction will also soon start on a $10 million upmarket lodge, which will offer five-star accommodation and cater for business conferences and functions for up to 200 guests. This will include a state of the art videoconferencing facility, which was dependent on broadband becoming available.

Terrace Downs worked closely with Telecom to ensure the resort had access to JetStream. The work involved extending a fibre-optic feed from Darfield, about 20 kilometres away, and installing a mini-DSLAM unit to convert the high-speed fibre circuit into DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) technology to carry JetStream.

Telecom Manager for Rural Investment Stuart Smith says recent advances in technology make providing broadband to rural businesses like Terrace Downs possible.

“Looking back six years when Terrace Downs was first started it probably couldn’t have been done. Now, we have the technology and the capacity to deliver broadband into most of the areas of New Zealand where there is a strong business need.”

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