The National Party has promised to expand the ultrafast broadband network to cover 90 per cent of homes within 10 years if elected, bringing fibre broadband to about another 50,000 households.
The current UFB target is to cover 87 per cent of homes by 2022, after two previously expansions from the original goal – which was achieved – of providing 75 per cent coverage by this year.
This sums up the difference between National and Labour. Labour sets targets and fails miserably at them.
National in 2008 set a hugely challenging target of having fibre available to 75% of NZ homes. It got them ahead of schedule, so added in even more targets and we are now able to credibly say 90% of NZ homes will have fibre available.
Its new goal would be to ensure almost all of the remaining 10 per cent of homes could get uncapped 100 megabit per second broadband using copper or wireless technologies by 2030.
I live in a non fibre area. The wireless speeds are not too bad. Have got 85 Mb/s at times.
Labour communications spokesman Kris Faafoi said National’s policy was “very expensive” and it was not clear how the party could afford to pay for it.
Same way they paid for the original 75% – managed it for under $1 billion, which is less than 5% of the cost of Australia’s NBN.
Craig Young, chief executive of the Technology Users Association, previously known as the Telecommunications Users Association, gave National’s technology plan “7 out of 10”.
Its new 90 per cent UFB coverage goal would take fibre to more small settlements and offering 100Mbps uncapped plans to all RBI customers would be a “significant improvement” for them, he said.
“Rolling out fibre a bit further isn’t a bad commitment to make.
“The other side of that is it frees up capacity on other networks.”
An uncapped 100Mbps RBI target would be achievable “if you invested enough”, he said.
Another positive was its plan to offer 1000 tertiary scholarships annually to students from low decile schools to undertake science, technology, engineering and maths degrees, he said.
National has a great track record on UFB and RBI.