New Zealand govt to invest NZD 270 mln in UFB rollout

Thursday 31 August 2017 | 08:43 CET | News
The New Zealand Government has announced it will invest NZD 270 million to roll out Ultra-Fast Broadband to 190 more small towns. The government has also extended rural broadband to another 74,000 households and businesses. The government has also brought the completion of the UFB network forward by two years. By the end of 2022, the country’s UFB programme is expected to provide more than four million New Zealanders with access to broadband services.

The investment includes NZD 130 million to extend UFB to another 60,000 households and businesses in 190 new towns and complete the network by 2022; NZD 140 million to extend rural coverage of high speed broadband under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) to another 74,000 rural households and businesses, and to deliver mobile coverage on 1000 kilometres of rural highways and more than 100 tourist areas through the Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF).

As part of this investment the Rural Connectivity Group joint venture, a joint venture between domestic mobile operators Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees, will be a partner with Crown Fibre Holdings on the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative and coverage of mobile black spots under the Mobile Black Spot Fund. 

The Rural Connectivity Group has secured between NZD 150 million and NZD 250 million of funding from the Government to deliver these initiatives through the use of mobile technologies. Spark, as a member of the Rural Connectivity Group, has committed to invest a total of NZD 25 million over 5 years in these initiatives.

The UFB project started in 2010 with the original goal of connecting 34 towns to fibre-to-the-premises connections. Earlier this year, the government has expanded it to 200 more towns and today’s announcement will brings it to 390. Over 300,000 rural homes and businesses already have access to upgraded broadband connections under the first phase of RBI which was completed in June 2016.

Today’s funding announcement is in addition to the NZD 150 million the Government has already allocated for rural broadband and mobile coverage. Together, the Rural Broadband and Mobile Black Spot programmes will be delivered through the construction of more than 450 new towers, in addition to the 150 already built.

By 2022, 87 percent of New Zealanders are expected to have access to UFB and 99 percent will have access to high speed internet. The recently announces NZD 270 million programme will be funded by NZD 240 million of recycled capital from earlier stages of the UFB programme and ZND 30 million from the Telecommunications Development Levy.  

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