The build programme for the first stage of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative has now reached the midway point, according to Communications Minister Amy Adams.
Speaking at the Kapiti Tech Expo in Paraparaumu, Adams says the milestone highlights the success of the private-public partnership of UFB.
“The UFB build is going from strength-to-strength, with fibre being rolled out to communities up and down the country,” she says.
“The project continues to be on budget and well ahead of schedule with over 618,000 homes, workplaces and schools now able to connect to the UFB network.
“It’s held in good stead internationally, with Alcatel-Lucent highlighting the programme’s design and execution as well-managed and cost-effective.”
Adams says the nine-year UFB build started in Whangarei in December 2010 and is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken in New Zealand.
“I hear positive stories on the benefits of having access to UFB every day,” she adds.
“Whether it’s in the classroom, the shop floor, the hospital or in the office, better connectivity is transforming the way we live. It means we can do things smarter, faster and cheaper.”
At present, the UFB build is now complete in 11 towns and cities with 2,200 schools have fibre installed and ready for service.
Adams says the first stage of the UFB programme will enable at least 75 per cent of New Zealanders to access fibre to the premise by 2019 and the expansion of the programme will take the reach to at least 80 per cent of New Zealanders.
“Kiwis are early-adopters and have embraced fibre. It’s encouraging to see uptake rising around the country with thousands of new connections every month,” Adams adds.
“New Zealand has the fastest growth in fibre penetration in the OECD at 272 per cent. That’s significant when you consider that over the next 20 years, UFB is predicted to deliver $33 billion dollars in economic benefits.
“My recent announcement to extend the UFB programme means even more people will be able to access fibre. The Government’s $2 billion investment in UFB will result in increased productivity, more jobs, and better outcomes in health and education.”