As part of its manifesto for re-election, the New Zealand government is proposing a Broadband Infrastructure Fund worth NZD325 million (USD251.6 million) over five years. NZD250 million would be earmarked for fibre and other high speed open access networks in urban areas, and the remaining NZD75 million would be directed to help fund broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Applications for funds would be accepted from August, and first decisions on who would get the money would be made in June next year. The urban grants would need the applicants to match any awards from their own purse while the rural fund would have ‘less onerous’ application criteria. Finance Minister Dr Cullen said the government was committed to ‘a fast broadband future’ and the package should be seen as ‘the first five year down payment’ on a long term commitment to bring fibre to the home.