NZ expanding fibre network to 190 more towns

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 04 September, 2017

NZ expanding fibre network to 190 more towns

The New Zealand government has committed an extra NZ$270 million ($243.3 million) towards extending its national broadband network projects to cover 134,000 more premises.

The government will invest NZ$130 million towards extending the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) wholesale fibre network to another 60,000 premises in 190 towns, and to bring forward the completion of the rollout of the network by two years to 2022.

Once complete, the UFB is expected to connect more than 4 million New Zealanders to full fibre broadband.

“We started UFB in 2010 with the original goal of connecting 34 towns to world-class fibre-to-the-premises. Earlier this year we expanded it to 200 more towns and today’s announcement will bring us to 390,” New Zealand Communications Minister Simon Bridges said.

The government will meanwhile spend NZ$140 million towards extending non-fibre broadband coverage to 74,000 rural premises under the concurrent Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and to improving mobile coverage on more than 1000 km of rural highways and over 100 tourist areas.

The RBI is using a combination of upgrades to existing copper lines and fixed wireless services to reach rural areas.

Bridges said the investments will ensure that by 2022, 87% of the population will have access to fibre broadband and 99% will have access to high-speed internet.

“Once complete, New Zealand will be in the top five countries in the OECD for access to high-speed broadband. Considering that in 2011 we were placed 26th with very little connectivity that will be a fantastic achievement,” he said.

“The NZ$270 million program announced today will be funded by NZ$240 million of recycled capital from earlier stages of the UFB program and NZ$30 million from the Telecommunications Development Levy.”

The Telecommunications Development Levy is paid by telcos in New Zealand to fund the rollout of infrastructure to unprofitable areas. It is payable by companies with annual operating revenues of over NZ$10 million, with the amount paid depending on the size of this revenue.

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