As the holiday season hurtles towards us, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the year that's been, its triumphs and challenges as most importantly, looking to the future of Farmside the journey for our staff and customers over the next 12 months.
The first milestone, setting the tone for a year of growth and development, was the Vodafone acquisition of Farmside. Vodafone have had a vested interest in our business for several years since the Rural Broadband Initiative's rollout and in June 2018 bought the business, presenting a vast array of opportunity for our customers. From investing into our business to help us provide improved services to our customers to being able to leverage their market leading technologies and products. An example of this is Sure Signal, a product you can read about later in this newsletter.
In 2018 we refreshed the Customer Portal, myfarmside.co.nz which was a direct outcome from customer feedback. I would like to reiterate to you all, we love feedback. The good, the bad and the ugly - we love hearing your ideas, so keep them coming.
Which brings me to my next point about our Net Promotor Scoring surveying via the AskNicely platform. This year, in 2018, we have seen an increase in customer satisfaction securing Farmside's lead on customer experience in the telecommunications industry world wide, which we could not manage without our customers giving us honest feedback.
We released Fibre into the Timaru market and were finalists in the South Canterbury Business Excellence Awards in two categories. I can share with you we were incredibly proud to be recognised as a finalist - our team based out of Timaru work exceptionally hard to provide exceptional service to rural New Zealanders, and it is testimony to them that we were recognised for their devotion and obsession for enabling our rural communities.
But it's not all been smooth sailing, we have experienced some technical challenges with modem firmware upgrades and partner network incidents that were all customer impacting. We hate letting our customers down and are sorry for the inconveniences these issues cause. We are continually working on ensuring these events are minimised, if not eliminated completely and making sure that customers are kept fully informed along the way. We aren't perfect, not yet, but we are working hard to ensure you have the best customer experience possible.
This year we have enjoyed continual customer growth, meaning more customers to love and serve with over 7,000 RBI customers connected. We expect this number to continue to grow, not only with brand new customers, but as the Government rolls out RBI2 from February 2019 we expect a number of our satellite customer to be able to change over to this service. Our satellite customers can be assured as soon as a better solution is available to you, our team will let you know and help you with that transition. We have been proud to be the first to bring broadband to rural NZ in the form of Satellite and equally proud to be the leading reseller partner of the Rural Broadband Initiative, today, 16 years later.
As we move forward into another year, delivering purpose fit products to rural New Zealand with outstanding customer service remains our number one focus. We remain invested in rural New Zealand and connecting our incredible countryside to the world.
Finally, we could not do what we do without the support of many others, be they individuals or organisations, so I would like to say a general thank you to everyone who is a customer and supporter of Farmside.
Happy Holidays to you all. May they be full of family, friends, sun and some good Kiwi tucker!