FX Networks chief executive Murray Jurgeleit says communications and IT minister Steven Joyce’s announcement yesterday of a $300 million rural broadband initiative is a positive development.
“Our reaction is that rural broadband is very much under-served,” Jurgeleit says.
“Provided the regional operators get equal opportunity to participate, it will be a good thing for the country.”
However, there is some speculation that the work may go to Chorus, Telecom’s network arm.
Australian telecommunications analyst Paul Budde, in a media release yesterday, says “The details indicate to BuddeCom that the plan seems to be developed around a blueprint that made it possible for the government to provide these details and most likely, this will involve Chorus.
“While this might raise some eyebrows, the reality is that without Chorus, it would be extremely difficult to realise such a regional telecomms plan,” Budde says.
Jurgeleit says that while FX is an enterprise and longhaul telecomms specialist, and doesn’t directly participate in the consumer space, “there are a number of viable options” throughout the country who could provide rural broadband to end-users.
He cites as one example Manawatu-based Inspire Net.
“We’re opposed to someone being given $300 million carte blanche,” he says.
FX Networks recently extended its fibre backbone network from the North Island to Christchurch.