Need for speed as Govt unveils faster UFB rollout plans

“New Zealanders are crying out for ultra-fast broadband because they recognise it’s a huge opportunity for improved connectivity.”

Communications Minister Amy Adams has released a raft of proposals to help speed up the installation of Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB).

The Land Access for Telecommunications discussion document seeks feedback on ideas to reduce unnecessary costs and delays with the UFB rollout.

“As one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects New Zealand has ever undertaken, the UFB programme is not a small and incremental upgrade to an existing network but rather a complete rollout of a new and innovative technology into our homes, businesses and schools,” Adams says.

“With demand for UFB taking off and the number of network connections now exceeding expectations, we’re gaining a better understanding of the nature and scale of some of the challenges that can be encountered with a programme this ambitious.

“There have been frustrating delays faced by some customers and industry in installing broadband cables up shared driveways and in apartment complexes due to disputes and permission requirements.

“There are also unnecessary costs being placed on the build through the inefficient use of existing infrastructure.”

While the industry has a role in streamlining the way they process UFB applications, Adams says the Government is ensuring the regulations are fit for purpose.

Current regulations mean that in some cases efforts to deploy fibre could add over double the cost and cause delays of more than a year in order to secure agreement from various individual land owners and purchases easements for every property passed.

“New Zealanders are crying out for ultra-fast broadband because they recognise it’s a huge opportunity for improved connectivity,” Adams adds.

“We want to give New Zealanders easy and fair access to better broadband, rather than hold up the rollout with burdensome rules and regulations.”

The discussion document outlines four proposals for change:

• amending the way in which network operators seek permission to access private property (in situations like shared driveways and apartment buildings)

• enabling better use of existing utility infrastructure to more efficiently roll out fibre networks

• providing more certainty to network operators regarding their ability to maintain fibre infrastructure installed on private property

• establishing an expanded and accessible disputes resolution process to ensure that land access disputes can be resolved quickly and fairly.

Submissions close at 5pm on 24 July 2015.

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