Telcos across New Zealand have welcomed Government plans to streamline consenting rules to help speed up the installation of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) rollout, as part of the first phase of its Land Access Reforms to reduce delays and frustrations with getting properties connected to UFB.
As reported by Computerworld New Zealand, Communication Minister Amy Adams made the changes following on from the Land Access for Telecommunications Discussion Document released last year.
In response to the move, Vodafone has welcomed the new regulations to streamline Kiwi customers’ experience connecting to UFB.
“Kiwis love broadband and are increasingly using it as a key enabler of their connected homes,” says Matt Williams, Consumer Director, Vodafone.
“With this, more and more New Zealanders are shifting to fibre, making us the fastest country in the OECD in terms of fibre uptake.
“Some of our customers have told us how frustrating it is to get connected to fibre due to access on shared driveways or cross-leases. Previously they would need to carry out an extensive consent process to install fibre into their home.
“It is pleasing to see the government, industry and public working together to simplify this process, so more kiwis can benefit from New Zealand’s UFB investment.”
On the whole, the telecommunications industry supports the changes, which will “remove a barrier” to connecting to the UFB network.
According to TCF CEO, Geoff Thorn, the current requirement to get consent from all property owners is slowing down the installation process and creating frustration for consumers who are actively seeking to upgrade to UFB.
As such, Thorn believes the proposed changes are a positive step forward and will help reduce the time required for consumers to get their fibre connection with the changes also estimated to save the industry costs of between $18 and $40 million over the next four years.
“The demand for UFB has been growing at an unprecedented rate,” Thorn adds. “Clearly, consumers want access to fast broadband.
“However, many New Zealanders need to get their neighbour’s consent in order to take the UFB connection down a shared driveway, or right of way. At the moment, if a neighbour simply doesn’t respond to the request for consent, the consumer wanting the connection misses out.
“Broadband connections are no longer a ‘nice to have’. New Zealand has a world class UFB network and it is important that all New Zealanders have the opportunity to connect to this network, and not be beholden to their neighbour.”
Thorn says network operators are using a range of technologies to provide the fibre connection to the consumer’s premises.
“Many of these technologies have a low impact on the shared land,” he adds. “Consequently, the TCF supports the idea that the industry should be able to get on with constructing these low impact installations, after providing advanced notice to all property owners.”
For Thorn, it’s also important for consumers to understand that connecting fibre to their home or office is a construction job.
“A job which requires careful planning and qualified installers,” he adds. “The very high demand for connections means that there will always be some delay.