Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections

The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB.

“This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network.

“Uptake on the network is now at 58.9 per cent, which significantly exceeds expectations back when the UFB programme was first developed,” Minister Kris Faafoi said.

The UFB network is futureproof. It has not experienced any capacity constraints and performed extremely well during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Chorus and other providers reported record levels of online activity. But, despite that increase, the latest report from the Commerce Commission’s independent testing partner, SamKnows, showed that fibre plans continued to perform well. Average download speeds were not affected by the peak in demand as large numbers of New Zealand worked, studied, shopped, and accessed entertainment online.

“Where it is available, UFB represents the ‘gold standard’ for internet connectivity,” Kris Faafoi said.

“I was particularly pleased with the performance of the network during the COVID lockdown and the value of the network is clearly recognised by the million households that have taken up a UFB service to date.”

At 30 June, UFB was available to 83 per cent of New Zealand’s population.

“The retail market for UFB services is highly competitive with more than 90 retailers offering the services. This competitive environment, along with other design features, means the UFB network is very accessible and plans are available at prices often the same or cheaper than copper-based broadband plans. These factors, along with the dedicated bandwidth in the network, mean it is well positioned to continue this strong uptake trend, and more New Zealanders can get the benefit of ultra-fast broadband” Kris Faafoi said.

Notes:

The original UFB programme was completed in 2019. There is currently an expansion to the UFB programme being rolled out, to be completed by 2022. This will take UFB to 86 per cent of the population.

More and more consumers are moving to the fastest UFB plan, which provides up to one Gigabit download speeds. In the most recent Quarterly Broadband Report, 14 per cent of consumers were on the Gigabit plan. Refer https://www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/wp-content/uploads/CIP-Quarterly-Report-March-2020.pdf.