NZ govt awards $154m in UFB contracts

Dylan Bushell-Embling
07 Dec 2010

The New Zealand government has awarded the first contracts to build the national Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) fiber network, once more leaving out incumbent Telecom NZ.

Crown Fibre Holdings - the company set up to oversee the rollout of the wholesale network - has signed NZ$200 million ($154.2m) worth of deals with two energy companies, communications minister Stephen Joyce said.

The winners, Northpower and WEL Networks subsidiary Ultra Fast Fibre, will be responsible for 16% of the buildings covered by the project.

Northpower will begin its rollout before Christmas, and Ultra Fast Fibre will start in early 2011. Both are expected to be done by 2015.

“This is very good progress in the roll out of UFB, which will see new fiber services available in [the city of] Whangarei by the end of this year,” Joyce said.

Notably absent was Telecom NZ, despite its offer to separate its wholesale and retail arms if the government allowed it to participate.

The company was not among those chosen for priority negotiations over this stage of the project in September.

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