Prime Minister Bill English and Communications Minister Simon Bridges today announced Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) will be extended to more than 151 additional towns, providing up to 85 per cent of New Zealanders with access to fibre by the end of 2024.
The second, $300 million phase of the Government’s UFB programme was launched in Amberley, north Canterbury, this morning.
Following intensive commercial negotiations, the Amberley event marked the awarding of contracts between Crown Fibre Holdings and four partner companies: Northpower, Ultrafast Fibre, Chorus and Enable.
“Phase two of the UFB build will see fibre rolled out across all mainland regions, to 151 more towns plus 43 suburban fringe areas around the larger centres which were covered by the first phase of the programme,” Mr Bridges says.
“This will provide around 423,000 additional New Zealanders in both rural and urban areas, from Ruatoria to Reefton, with access to world-class broadband.”
All towns identified in the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the UFB extension will receive access to fibre, plus additional areas that weren’t included in the RFP.
“Regional connectivity is critical to our economy and to New Zealand’s future,” Mr Bridges says.
“Rolling out faster, more reliable internet is a vital part of our plan in developing a productive and competitive economy, improving health and educational outcomes and creating more jobs for Kiwis and their families.
“By the end of 2024, approximately 85 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to fibre, far exceeding our original target of 80 per cent by 2022. This will put New Zealand among the leaders in the OECD for access to fibre.
The first phase of the Government’s UFB programme is ahead of schedule in delivering fibre to the premises of 75 per cent of New Zealanders by 2019.
The second phase of UFB installations will start in 2017 and be completed between 2018 and 2024. Phase two of the build will see each build area be completed within a 12 month period in order to provide as little disruption as possible.
Further information is available at www.broadband.govt.nz.