The Herald reports:
Prime Minister Bill English has announced the rollout of ultrafast broadband to another 190 towns and rural areas at a cost of $270 million.
It will see the UFB network completed two years ahead of time – by the end of 2022.
English said UFB was critical for businesses in the regions, especially those focusing on technology.
The money includes $140m to extend rural broadband to a further 74,000 households and businesses and to get mobile coverage in “black spots” on stretches of state highways and tourist hotspots such as in Milford Sound, Cape Reinga and Bethells Beach.
English said the UFB rollout had gone faster than expected and the uptake was higher that estimated “which makes it one of the quiet successes of our country”.
English made the announcement at Mystery Creek in Hamilton, where Mayor Andrew King thanked him for the infrastructure spending in the region on transport and schools.
English said $240m of the $270m cost would be recycled capital from the original rollout because uptake had been strong.
This has been an excellent infrastructure investment. As you can see the original capital is available for recycling because so many people have taken up the fibre option. So the actual cost is just $30 million for this extension.
Chorus will deliver the ultrafast broadband to 87 per cent of the country.
We will have one of the highest fibre penetration rates in the world.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges said the total $2 billion spend on communications infrastructure would put New Zealand in the top five countries in the OECD for access to high-speed broadband, up from 26th in 2011.
Superb, and as more and more of us consume video via streaming and on demand, the fibre infrastructure becomes a must have, not a nice to have. I’m likely to close my Sky account shortly and just consume TV through Apple TV.