Govt issues "full speed ahead" update for NZ UFB deployment

"This gives businesses a competitive advantage."

Communications Minister Amy Adams as announced a 23 percent increase in the number of end users connecting to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) over the first three months of 2015.

The latest quarterly results for the Government’s UFB and Rural Broadband Initiative programmes show over 618,000 homes, workplaces and schools are now able to connect to the UFB network.

"The private-public partnership of the UFB initiative is progressing well and deployment is significantly ahead of build targets, with close to 46 percent of the infrastructure now complete," Adams says.

Uptake is at 13.8 per cent across the country, taking the total number of end users connected to the network to 85,544.

Adams says the programme was tracking well and noted its positive results were highlighted in a global report released about the initiative’s success.

The report by Alcatel-Lucent describes New Zealand’s UFB programme as the result of a "clear government vision" - claiming that New Zealand has "designed and executed a uniquely well-managed and cost effective, open-access national broadband network."

The report also noted the effective and competitive tender process, flexible regulatory framework and innovative funding structure had all played a role in the success of the initiative.

"Better connectivity provides access to cloud based software and other benefits like high definition video streaming," Adams adds.

"This gives businesses a competitive advantage and enables students to securely share their learning with friends, teachers, and their families.

"Schools are a top priority for the Government. The programme target for schools is now 93 per cent complete with more than 2300 schools across New Zealand with high-speed broadband ready for service."

Under the RBI, Adams reports that almost 80 percent of tower upgrades are now complete.

In the last quarter almost 1.8 million unique Vodafone customers alone accessed mobile services from the 113 new towers built since the start of the programme.

Furthermore, an estimated 239,000 households and businesses are able to connect to fixed wireless RBI from new and upgraded towers.

More than 85,000 lines have been upgraded by Chorus under the RBI to receive new or improved faster copper-based broadband.

At present, Adams says 46 per cent of the build is complete, "within budget and ahead of schedule" meaning 618,000 end users are now able to connect to the UFB network.

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