National announced this week a further $100 million for regional broadband. I certainly welcome the investment, as I have welcomed the investment in fibre to 75% of NZ. I think there are overall benefits to NZ by having a fast connected country.
But there is one part of National’s policy I am not so comfortable with. The fibre to the home initiative is funded by the NZ Government, ie taxpayers. As I said, confortable to have some taxpayer investment in infrastructure.
But the $100 million for rural broadband will be funded by extending a levy on telecommunications companies. And this money will go from them, to possibly their competitors. I’m not so keen on this.
If there is a case for better rural broadband (and there is), then it should be funded by the Government (taxpayers), not by a levy on telcos.