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Take-up of NZ's UFB fibre network reaches 31%


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 17 February, 2017


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Uptake of New Zealand’s Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) national fibre network improved 13% in the past quarter, with 31% of people within the network footprint now connected.

The number of premises connected to the network — including households, businesses, schools and hospitals — grew to nearly 328,000 by the end of December, according to the government’s December 2016 Quarterly Broadband Update.

The first-phase deployment of the UFB network has meanwhile reached 71% completion, with more than 1 million New Zealand homes and businesses now capable of accessing broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbps. So far 21 towns have been fully connected with fibre.

In January, the government extended the UFB project to cover another 151 towns. By end-2024, the government’s aim is that more than 84% of New Zealanders will have access to the network, up from the initial goal of connecting 75% of the population.

“It’s fantastic to see more and more Kiwis getting on board with UFB,” New Zealand Communications Minister Simon Bridges said.

“The government invested in fibre to catalyse uptake and the level of demand so far has been strong, with New Zealand boasting the second-highest growth rate for fibre subscriptions in the OECD.”

The concurrent rural broadband initiative (RBI) to improve broadband connectivity in regional areas has meanwhile ensured that over 300,000 rural households and businesses are now able to access broadband speeds of over 5 Mbps, the government said.

The government recently launched a request for proposals covering NZ$150 million ($140.3 million) in funding for phase two of the RBI as well as the Rural Black Spot Fund.

Image courtesy ESA.

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