​Govt reveals further reforms to speed up apartment UFB connections

“Of all UFB orders, one in seven can get held up by the need to obtain permission from other owners."
Communications Minister Amy Adams

Communications Minister Amy Adams

Apartment residents are set to reap the benefits of connecting more quickly to faster broadband under new changes proposed by Communications Minister Amy Adams.

Adams has announced the second phase of Land Access Reforms, making it easier for those living in apartment complexes to connect to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) - these follow on from changes announced last month to improve access to stand alone properties with shared access.

“Of all UFB orders, one in seven can get held up by the need to obtain permission from other owners,” Adams adds.

“This applies to apartment buildings as well as shared driveways. Half a million New Zealanders live in multi-dwelling units and apartments and I want all New Zealanders who can access UFB to be able to do so without unnecessary delay.

“These changes are about making that process as smooth as possible. Under our proposed Land Access Reforms, changes will be made to the way network operators interact with a body corporate in order to obtain agreement.”

In these instances, Adams says the law will clarify that once a single unit owner has placed an order for UFB, the network operator will have an automatic right to access the common areas of that property in order to determine the best way to install UFB.

“As long as installation won’t cause significant damage to the exterior of the property, a body corporate will be provided with a design outlining how and where network equipment will be installed,” Adams adds.

“If objections have not been raised by the body corporate within 15 working days, UFB installation will be able to commence.”

If approval to install is declined by the body corporate, Adams says the body corporate will have an obligation to advise unit owners that it has denied approval within 10 working days - this process will replace the existing Multi Unit Complex, or MUC, code.

The Government also consulted on whether existing electricity infrastructure could be used to increase the reach of fibre coverage in rural areas by legislating extended purposes for which those existing poles could be used.

“While this proposal has some attractive elements, further information about the likely ways in which this would be used is needed before this could be progressed so no action on this proposal will be included with the immediate set of reforms,” Adams adds.

Overall the Land Access Reforms will speed up and streamline the consenting process when permission is required from neighbours to install broadband.

Adams says the full package of Land Access Reforms covering shared driveways and multi-dwelling units is expected to be introduced to Parliament within the next few months.