NZ West Coast and Southland to get regional fibre links

Wednesday, 19 August, 2020

NZ West Coast and Southland to get regional fibre links

Work has begun in New Zealand on two regional fibre links which will enable upgraded communication services on the West Coast and Southland, as well as improving resilience in the event of network damage. Funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, the links will run between Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea for approximately 240 km, and from Te Anau to Milford Sound for approximately 120 km.

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said the fibre links will provide upgraded capacity and resilience to the West Coast and Southland, serving as an example of the government’s commitment to improving critical telecommunications infrastructure worldwide and boosting investment in the regions.

“Investment in high-quality communications infrastructure proved its worth to New Zealand during the COVID-19 lockdown and will also underpin the economic recovery,” Jones said.

The Fox Glacier to Lake Hawea link will follow State Highway 6 and is expected to enable new and upgraded broadband services and provide backhaul to mobile and wireless sites along the route. It will also provide an alternative route to existing fibres on the East Coast of the South Island.

It will also enable Haast township to be added to the Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout. Crown Infrastructure Partners will provide further Provincial Growth Fund money to Chorus, to build fibre to the homes in Haast when the link is completed. Business in Milford Sound and along the route to Te Anau will also benefit from enhanced broadband and mobile services, with the new link to follow State Highway 94.

Chorus will coordinate with other government-led projects in the region, including working with NZTA and the Milford Road Alliance to align the build with repairs being made to the Milford–Te Anau Highway and the shovel-ready Homer Tunnel Upgrade. Chorus will also work with the Rural Connectivity Group to make the fibre available to mobile sites along the routes.

The Fox-Hawea fibre link is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022 and the Milford link by the end of 2022. Fibre backhaul services over both fibre links will be available to other telecommunications operators on an open access basis.

Image credit: ©éter Mács

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