The rate at which Kiwis are signing up for the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network is accelerating with uptake quadrupling in the past two years.
According to Communications Minister Amy Adams, national uptake figures reached 11.3 per cent as of December 2014, more than double the December 2013 rate and more than four times what it was at the end of 2012.
“Strong progress is being made on the infrastructure build with 43 per cent now complete, making the project seven per cent ahead of schedule,” Adams says.
“This is delivering a world-class broadband network for New Zealanders and providing new opportunities for business, enabling better health and education outcomes, and contributing to economic growth.”
Revealed by the latest quarterly results for the Government’s UFB and Rural Broadband Initiatives, during the three months to December 2014 the number of end users connected to UFB increased by 26 per cent from 55,010 to 69,301.
In total more than 570,000 New Zealand homes and workplaces are now able to connect to fibre.
“In December, Oamaru became the third town to be fully fibred, alongside Whangarei and Te Awamutu, with more towns expected to be completed in the coming months,” Adams adds.
“A total of 2,285 schools now have fibre ready for service. The fibre roll-out to state and state-integrated schools across New Zealand is due for completion over the coming year.”
Under the RBI, Vodafone has 104 new towers now ready for service, making the new tower build over two-thirds complete while more than three-quarters of the RBI tower upgrades are now complete, with 305 towers upgraded.
According to Adams, an estimated 231,000 addresses are able to connect to fixed wireless RBI from the new and upgraded towers.
Adams believes the RBI towers are now making a “significant contribution” to mobile coverage - in the last quarter, more than 1.5 million individual Vodafone customers accessed mobile services from the 104 new towers built since the start of the programme.
At present, more than 81,000 lines have been upgraded by Chorus under the RBI to receive faster copper-based broadband.