NZ a top 10 connected nation with stage one of ultra-fast broadband roll-out completed

More New Zealanders now have better internet access with the Government delivering the first phase of roll-out of its Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, says.

“The first phase of the UFB (UFB1) roll-out has been completed one month ahead of schedule and within budget, and now offers high quality broadband to 79 per cent of New Zealanders,” says Kris Faafoi.

“When we came into government with New Zealand First and the Green Party we committed to investment that would further develop New Zealand’s digital capability and close the divide between urban and rural access.

“It’s hard for many of us to remember what ‘connectivity’ was like a decade ago. The roll-out of this vital infrastructure has been a game changer across so many sectors.

“From state of the art schooling in the classroom to high speed health services both in hospitals and through mobile services in communities, UFB is adding value in New Zealanders’ lives,” says Kris Faafoi.

Completion of the first stage of the Ultra-Fast Broadband roll-out also makes New Zealand the 8th most UFB available country in the OECD.

“UFB1 has reached over 1.5 million households and businesses, including all urban schools and hospitals,” Mr Faafoi said.

The programme will also continue to support economic growth in smaller regional towns across New Zealand as people are able to operate digital businesses and access online education with exactly the same connectivity as in big cities, he said.

“I would like to thank the four partners who have made this possible – Northpower, Enable Services, WEL Networks, Chorus and the many workers involved.

“I wish them all the best as they continue to roll-out the expansion of the UFB programme, which will take the network to over 400 cities and towns across the country.”

The expansion to the UFB programme is scheduled for completion in 2022, and will cover 87 per cent of New Zealand’s population and 405 cities and towns.

Notes to Editor:

The UFB programme is a public-private partnership between Crown Infrastructure Partners on behalf of the Crown and the four partners.

Of the $1.3 billion invested in the programme, $200 million has already been returned with a further $350 million to be returned by 2025.

The Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme is the broadband scheme deploying fibre-to- premises to 87 per cent of the population by 2022. UFB is currently available to 79 per cent of the population.

The recently released Quarterly Broadband Update noted that national uptake of UFB is at 55 per cent, which is much higher than original forecasts and up from 52 per cent in the June quarter. In the September quarter, there has been a 19 per cent increase in the number of gigabit connections.

The ten major cities connected in UFB1 exceeding 60 per cent uptake are:

  • Hamilton
  • Nelson
  • Dunedin
  • Auckland
  • New Plymouth
  • Whangarei
  • Rolleston
  • Tauranga
  • Lincoln
  • Cambridge
  • Waiuku

The UFB1 programme was tendered by Government in 2009 and contracted in 2010/2011.

The policy objectives of UFB1 were:

  • To cover 75 per cent of the population by end of 2019;
  • To cover all schools and hospitals and 90 per cent of businesses by the end of 2015;
  • To provide services of at least 100 Mbps downstream, upgradable to 1000 Mbps;
  • The UFB infrastructure was to be owned by wholesale only Local Fibre Companies (LFCs) or a structured, separated Chorus; and
  • Open access network with non-discrimination.

All of the above policy objectives have been met.

The UFB1 programme was expanded in 2017 to cover 87 per cent of the population.