OECD report shows Kiwi broadband improving

The latest OECD report on broadband services shows broadband penetration is growing, but New Zealand's ranking remains unchanged.

The local rate of growth rate of broadband penetration is the sixth fastest rate in the developed world, according to the OECD, which continues to rank New Zealand 19 out of 30 for broadband penetration, with 20.4 broadband connections per 100 people. that is up from 18.1 in the previous quarter and 16.3 at the end of 2007.

The statistics, for the second quarter, have been welcomed by the Telecommunications Users Association.

"Although our OECD ranking for broadband penetration remains at 19th out of 30, our rate of growth at around 4% is substantially better than the OECD average," TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman says.

"These statistics confirm what TUANZ is seeing in the market and what we are hearing from members -- New Zealand is catching up rapidly.

Newman says the drivers of this improvement include the government's reform of telecommunications regulation, Telecom's positive response and renewed wave of investment and some effective standards work within the Commerce Commission and the industry.

"There will always be room for improvement," Newman says. "TUANZ's vision remains one of fiber optic or equivalent ultra high speed connectivity to every business, home, marae and farm. That will take some years and good collaboration between public and private sectors to achieve. But for the moment we are starting to be able to hold our heads higher among developed countries for broadband penetration."

The report says upgrades to fiber-based connections continues in the OECD. Fiber subscriptions comprise 9% of all broadband connections in the OECD, up from 8% in December 2007. New Zealand's level of fiber penetration is put at 0%.

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