Five cities now have fibre certainity

has announced:

The cities of Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei, New Plymouth and Wanganui will be among the first to benefit from the government’s rollout of ultra-fast (UFB), says the Minister for Communications and Information Technology Steven Joyce.

Crown Holdings has concluded negotiations with two partner companies, following shareholding ministers’ approval of the deals over the weekend.

The partners are:

  • Northpower Limited
  • and Ultra Fast Fibre Limited, owned by WEL Networks,

The new companies will rollout fibre in Whangarei, Hamilton, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Hawera and Tokoroa.

Northpower will commence its roll out in Whangarei before Christmas with Ultra Fast Fibre expected to begin laying fibre early in 2011.  Both companies will have completed their rollouts by 2015.

These joint ventures represent nearly 16 per cent of UFB premises and a combined value of more than $200 million.

This is excellent news. It shows the regional approach has worked, in preference to one nation-wide contract.good to see there will be some fibre laid before the end of the year.

There was some suspicion that Northpower and WEL would not end up with the contracts, despite being announced as preferred bidders. People speculated that Telecom might grab it away from them in a negotiation for a nation-wide contract.

So good to see there will be some fibre laid by the end of the year.

CFH will shortly announce a list of parties with whom it will next elect to negotiate with in the remaining 25 UFB regions.

All eyes are on this.

My view is that Telecom/Chorus will be successful if their price is the same or close to the Regional Fibre Group – say within a couple of hundred million. There are long-term benefits to getting Telecom to structurally separate, and having Chorus as a stand alone infrastructure company.

But it is possible the Regional Fibre Group will have undercut Telecom. They have certain cost advantages such as current ducts and poles and resource consents. Over 70% of the cost of fibre is digging up the road, and the less of that you have to do, the cheaper you do it.

In an ideal world I’d have Telecom sell Chorus to the Regional Fibre Group – then you’d have an integrated infrastructure provider. However I’m not sure Vector and co could afford to buy it!

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