First published Thursday 17th December 2009 2:50pm
Last updated Friday 18th December 2009 8:55am

2009 was a huge year for Lightwire. We moved to a pre-paid topup card model, completely revamped the website, added a captive portal system so that normal users didn't have to set up PPPoE, expanded our network onto the University of Waikato campus Wi-Fi network, improved the Halls networks substantially over 2008, launched Lightwire in Hamilton City, met new friends on Twitter and Facebook and increased the amount of available bandwidth to our users and made sure that everyone got a fair share of it.

2010 is shaping up to be another exciting year. We're currently working hard to get Lightwire@Home ready for you when you move into your flat next year and we'll be keeping you up to date with progress over the next couple of months.

We're also changing the way our pricing plans work. We got a huge amount of feedback from the surveys we did during 2009. A huge percentage of you were happy with the Lightwire service and prices, but a common theme that kept coming up was that you didn't want your credit to expire after 30 days (or 90 days on the Twilight plan).

Well, we've listened to all your feedback and come up with something new. We're keeping the old plan names, but instead of buying gigabytes for a certain time period (e.g. 5GB for 30days) you'll now simply be putting money on your account. So, if you buy a Daylight card, your account will be credited with $10, or $30 for a Limelight card.

Additionally, your credit will not expire after 30 days! That's right - your credit will stay on your account for a whole year from the last time you topped up. As long as you topup once a year, all of your balance will remain.

So, what can you do with the money on your account now? Well, this is where things get really interesting!

When you topup, as well as adding money to your account, you get access to a special data rate for the next 30 days. The special data rate reduces the cost of every megabyte of data you use. Once the special rate expires, your credit stays but you move back onto the standard data rate. You can then choose to use the remainder of your credit at the standard data rate, or topup again to get back on a special data rate.

The more you topup and the more you use, the cheaper the data will get!

CardCreditSpecial Data Rate
Daylight$10Standard Rate (1.2c/MB)
Twilight$200.9c/MB for 30 days then 1.2c/MB
Limelight$300.6c/MB for 30 days then 1.2c/MB
Spotlight$400.5c/MB for 30 days then 1.2c/MB
Highlight$500.4c/MB for 30 days then 1.2c/MB
Floodlight$750.3c/MB for 30 days then 1.2c/MB

Our standard data rate has dropped from 1.33c/MB in 2009 to 1.2c/MB for 2010. On top of that, we're still not charging any fixed monthly costs, making Lightwire one of the cheapest ways to access the Internet in New Zealand. With our new plans, we'll make sure that we give you access to the best rate based on what topups you've added to your account recently.

The new plans will take effect from 5 January 2010. We'll be converting any remaining balance you might have to the new system on that day, and we'll post details about how we are going to do the conversion soon.

We hope you like the new plans - we've put a lot of thought into them and we think they address most of the comments people made about last year's plans. We're interested in hearing your thoughts on our new pricing scheme, so feel free to drop us a message on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you think.