New Zealand has passed Australia in the latest OECD rankings for broadband penetration.
According to the OECD, as of June 2010, New Zealand ranked 17th with 24.5 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Australia, which ranked 18th, had 23.4 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
Publication of the latest OECD statistics coincides with the government’s announcement that two electricity companies have signed deals with Crown Fibre Holdings to roll out fibre broadband networks in Whangarei and the central North Island.
But despite inching ahead of Australia in the rankings, TUANZ chair Pat O’Connell says the organisation is pushing for progress on the remaining 25 Ultra Fast Broadband regions.
“TUANZ remains concerned at the pace with which the remaining contracts are being issued. With the Telecommunications Amendment Bill due to go before parliament tomorrow, it looks likely that the deadlines for the rollout to the rest of the country will be missed," says O’Connell in a statement.
"This is troubling, despite New Zealand overtaking Australia in terms of broadband penetration. Now is not the time to Now is not the time to take our eye off the ball.”
Meanwhile in Australia, slipping behind New Zealand in the broadband rankings is cause for concern, says Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy. He released a statement today claiming the rankings give further weight to the National Broaband Network – the Australian government-back fibre network.
“Conroy said the latest stats reveal Australia had slipped to 18th out of 31 OECD countries for fixed-line broadband penetration. This is a one place drop from Australia’s position at December 2009 and now sees New Zealand ranked ahead of us,” the statement reads “The latest figures show Australia is still lagging behind world leaders in access to broadband and is further evidence that Australia has lacked vital investment in fixed-line broadband infrastructure. “If Australia wants to remain competitive in our region, and as the world moves to a 21st century digital economy, we need to act now. That’s why the Gillard Government is getting on with delivering the NBN."