On Feb 28, New Zealand’s Minister for Broadcasting,
Communications and Digital Media Clare Curran announced
that the work to make fibre broadband available to the country is moving apace
and is ahead of plan.
Quarterly Broadband Deployment update shows that over 506,000 users are connected
to ultra-fast broadband (UFB) which is delivering close to 1,000 megabits per
second at present.
“In total, more than 1.25 million New Zealand households and
businesses have access to UFB and 40% of those who have access are actually
connected. There was a 10% uptake in connections between September and December
2017,” said Minister Curran.
By the end of 2022, fibre-to-the-premises will be available
to 87% of the New Zealand population in 390 towns and cities.
The Government of New Zealand hopes to close the digital
divides by 2020 and make ICT the second biggest exporting sector by 2025.
Boosting digital connectivity in rural communities is among
one of the Government’s objectives. In the first Rural Broadband Initiative
(RBI), 154 new towers have been built and 387 existing towers have been upgraded.
Over 110,000 copper lines have been upgraded. 304,574 users are able to
connect, and 122,805 users are now connected.
“We’ll focus on the harder to reach areas and I’ll be
looking not just at access but at how quickly connectivity can be delivered to
rural and isolated areas,” Minister Curran added.
The RBI Phase 1 Deployment is completed. The next step
forward for RBI is to deliver new or improved broadband to 70,000 additional
rural households and businesses.
More than 1,000 kilometres of state highways and in excess
of 100 tourism locations will receive new mobile coverage.
Crown Infrastructure Partners manages UFB and is managing
the contractual arrangements for the RBI2 and Mobile Black Spot Fund programmes
and has entered into contracts with the Rural Connectivity Group and with a
number of wireless internet service providers to deliver rural programmes.
The next quarterly broadband update is scheduled
for release in May 2018.