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ihug Announces Stop-Gap Broadband Plans

Media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27 March 2006

ihug Announces Stop-Gap Broadband Plans

ihug announced today that it will introduce 3.5Mb plans in early April along with rest of the industry.

Earlier this month, ihug and CallPlus rejected Telecom's new 3.5Mb wholesale offer in favour of asking the Commerce Commission for speeds of up to 7.5Mb at better prices.

Chief executive Mark Rushworth says ihug is still going ahead with the determination but that is has secured a 3.5Mb wholesale product to offer its customers in the meantime.

"We were very aware that other internet providers would be offering 3.5Mb from April while we continue to push for speeds twice that. So we're pleased Telecom has allowed us to resell their 3.5Mb product while continuing with the determination. Obviously, a company Telecom's size with substantial market power can't be seen to be excluding competitors from the market."
Rushworth says ihug will offer 3.5Mb plans with upload speeds of 128kbps and 512kbps. Telecom is charging the company a higher wholesale rate for the 3.5Mb/128kbps product because ihug is proceeding with the determination. Rushworth says that ihug is willing to put up with this as a short-term solution for giving customers faster speeds, knowing that determination speeds of 7.5Mb and local loop unbundling are just around the corner.

"While we're happy that we can offer customers the fastest speeds available now, what we really want is for the government to unbundle the local loop so that Kiwis can get speeds to up to 24Mb down (with 1Mb upload speeds), pay much less for their home phone and most importantly, have a real choice of provider - that would really take the cake."

ENDS

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