NZ extends national broadband projects

eGov Innovation editors
eGov Innovation

New Zealand is extending its Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) programs to cover 80% of New Zealanders and extend connectivity to more rural areas. Total investment across these programs is expected to reach around NZ$2 billion ($1.47 billion).

Communications Minister Amy Adams said the government is inviting local authorities to make commitments aimed at preparing their communities to make maximum use of potential infrastructure and encouraging more rapid and extensive deployment in those areas.

At the same time, telecommunication companies are being invited to indicate the technology mix that will supply the best service to rural areas.

Economic analysis of the first stage of the UFB build found that high-speed broadband could have benefits to New Zealanders end-users of NZ$32.8 billion over 20 years.

“More jobs and higher incomes, new business opportunities and, improved access to education, healthcare and emergency services are just some of the benefits of better connectivity,” said Adams.

“That’s why the government is building on its existing commitments and investing an additional NZ$152 million to NZ$210 million to lift the UFB program coverage from 75% to 80% of New Zealanders. We are also investing $100 million to expand the Rural Broadband program, and $50 million to improve mobile coverage in black spot areas along main highways and in popular tourist destinations,” she added.

Local authorities could support their bid for better connectivity by working with residents and businesses to identify opportunities for broadband use and support rapid uptake; developing a Digital Enablement Plan for the community; and facilitating consent processes for new infrastructure.

The government said local authorities could also make deployment quicker and less expensive by providing information about existing infrastructure or assistance in developing or operating new sites.

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