Local council countdown on as UFB deadline looms

“From what I have seen so far, a number of councils have grabbed this opportunity with both hands and already I’m seeing some innovative ideas."

Local authorities have four more weeks to get their submissions in for phase two of the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

In March, Communications Minister Amy Adams put out a call to all councils seeking their views on priority areas and how they would support better broadband in their community.

Adams says there had been a “good amount of interest” from councils with the Government “encouraged by initial feedback.”

“From what I have seen so far, a number of councils have grabbed this opportunity with both hands and already I’m seeing some innovative ideas,” Adams says.

“With only one month to go before submissions close, councils need to continue to take an active role in working with residents and businesses to identify opportunities for broadband use and support rapid uptake.”

For Adams, this is a significant opportunity for councils to make a credible difference to the telecommunications infrastructure of their area.

“We want councils to put their best case forward,” Adams adds.

The Government says the information received from local authorities and communities will be an important part of deciding the amount, type and location of infrastructure to be deployed in this next phase.

“While the Government has made excellent strides with the first phase of UFB and RBI, we want to do even more to extend better broadband to as many New Zealanders as possible,” Adams adds.

The first phase of UFB is ahead of schedule with 46 percent of the build complete and 618,000 end users able to connect to the network.

At present, uptake is at 13.8 percent across the country, taking the total number of end users connected to the network to 85,544. Across all components of the RBI, total uptake is currently sitting at 25.2 percent.

Adams says an extra $210 million for Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and $150 million for the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) and mobile black-spots in Budget 2015 for this next phase takes the Government’s total investment to $2 billion.

Registrations of Interest for phase two close 3 July.

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