Counties Power wins Auckland Project Probe tender

Counties Power has won the highly contested Project Probe tender for the Auckland region.

Counties Power has won the highly contested Project Probe tender for the Auckland region.

The tender was hotly contested with Telecom's bid forcing the Project Probe team to ask the other tenders to "sharpen their pencils".

Telecom won two other tenders announced today, the West Coast and Manawatu/Wanganui.

In total 14 tenders will be awarded to regional providers with a 15th region covering the most remote parts of New Zealand. Service to that region will be offered by satellite.

The Telecom/BCL consortium has now won Waikato, Taranaki, Wellington, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne/Hawkes Bay in addition to the two announced today. Woosh Wireless, along with partner Vodafone, has won Southland, Northland, Wairarapa and Canterbury. ThePacific.Net won the tender for Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough. Only Otago and the satellite tenders remain to be announced.

Project Probe is the government's initiative to bring broadband to the regions. It has two goals, to extend the reach of broadband networks and to increase the level of competition in the broadband marketplace. Service will be provided to schools and hospitals initially but the government hopes the telcos will then use that investment as a platform to offer services to residential and business users who would otherwise be beyond the reach of existing infrastructure.

Telecom and BCL also won the contract to provide broadband services to Fonterra's dairy farming community and has announced pricing based around that. Fonterra customers will be able to buy JetStream where it is available or Telecom's Wireless service, running on BCL's Extend network, for its usual price less a $10 a month discount. Farmers will also not have to pay for traffic to and from the Fencepost website, receive a 15% discount on national tolls and calls to Telecom mobile numbers, and can set up a "free calling circle" of up to nine other Fonterra customers.

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