Over 90,000 more households and businesses now have UFB coverage

The latest Quarterly Connectivity Report shows more than 90,000 households and businesses gained access to Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) in the three months from April to June this year.

“That’s an increase in UFB coverage that’s equivalent to a city the size of Wellington and brings the total number of households and businesses able to connect to UFB to 1,576,189,” the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi said.

“With 110 UFB cities and towns now complete, the build is now 85 per cent finished and still ahead of schedule.

On completion of the programme in 2022, there will be over 1.8 million homes and businesses in New Zealand with access to UFB,” Minister Faafoi said.

In the latest quarter, there were 55,336 new connections to UFB, lifting overall uptake to 52 per cent.

“There are also an impressive number of towns with uptake over 60 per cent, like Waiuku and Hamilton with 64 per cent uptake and Whatawhata and Tauranga close behind with 63 per cent, Mr Faafoi said.

Broadband coverage in rural areas has also increased. There are now approximately 38,000 households and businesses in hard to reach regions of New Zealand which now have access to improved broadband.

“It’s particularly pleasing that the smaller Wireless Internet Service Providers improved broadband coverage to approximately 1,500 rural households and businesses in the June quarter.

“We have heard a consistent message that rural New Zealand needs better and more widespread mobile coverage to support rural business growth, the farming and tourism sectors and rural safety.

“I look forward to seeing mobile, fixed wireless broadband, and ‘internet of things’ coverage extend further into rural New Zealand with all the benefits these will bring.

“The increased investment into the regions shows our commitment to closing the digital divide to ensure all New Zealanders who want it, have connectivity,” he said,” Mr Faafoi said

The Rural Broadband Initiative programme (RBI2) has provided 38,662 rural homes and businesses with access to improved broadband. That is enabling, amongst other things, better online farm management, improvement in farm security in isolated areas, and better education access for rural students.

The Mobile Black Spots (MBSF) programme provides mobile coverage to improve safety on state highways and enhance visitor experience at key tourist destinations.

There are now 26 tourism sites and 238 kilometres of state highway which have improved coverage from all three mobile operators.

When work on RBI2 and MBSF is completed by 2023, and combined with completion of the UFB roll-out, New Zealand will have broadband coverage to 99.8 per cent of the population.

“Being connected has become an essential part of our everyday lives.

“The availability of improved broadband and mobile coverage can make a huge difference for urban and rural households alike, for businesses across our regions, and for safety on our state highways.

The Quarterly Connectivity Report is released by Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

The report provides information on the progress of the Government-backed connectivity programmes, which are:

  • Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) roll-out
  • Phase Two of the Rural Broadband Initiative and Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programme
  • Provincial Growth Fund marae digital connectivity programme

The Quarterly Connectivity Update can be found on CIP’s website, at this link: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/quarterly.

NOTE TO EDITORS

  • The Rural Broadband Initiative phase two has made improved broadband available to 38,662 rural households and businesses, which is 45 per cent of the overall target. 25 mobile towers have been deployed with 238 kilometres of mobile coverage now available on state highways.
  • Under the Mobile Black Spot Fund Programme, mobile coverage is being deployed to state highway ‘blackspots’ where there is currently no mobile coverage to support public safety in high traffic areas where there are high incident rates. It is also being deployed to tourism locations around New Zealand where there is currently no mobile coverage to support tourism and economic growth.
  • The Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme is the urban broadband scheme deploying fibre-to-the-premises to 87 per cent of the population by 2022. UFB is currently available to 78 per cent of the population; with UFB connectivity completed to 110 towns and cities.

National uptake of UFB is 52 per cent, which is much higher than original forecasts.

There has been a 153 per cent increase in the number of gigabit connections, which is the fastest product on the UFB network.

  • The PGF Marae Digital Connectivity programme was announced on 4 February 2019 and enables marae to receive a grant-funded broadband connection and associated hardware to enable use of the connection, creating marae ‘digital hubs’ that support communities to undertake economic activity and enhance their digital capability.
  • More information can be found at CIP’s website: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz.