The New Zealand government plans to make a final decision on the partners for its long-delayed ‘ultra-fast broadband’ plan by October, it has been announced. Back in September 2009, communications minister Steven Joyce announced that the government wanted to roll out a nationwide fibre-optic network to 75% of the country’s homes by 2018 via an NZD1.5 billion (USD1.03 billion) fibre-optic network. Joyce said that the government would create a new State-owned investment company, Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH) to own the network. The proposal was for CFH and a selection of regional partner companies to establish Local Fibre Companies (LFC) to roll out infrastructure. Telecom New Zealand, Canadian company Axia Netmedia and the Regional Fibre Group – a consortium of 19 electricity and broadband companies – all submitted proposals in January, but the CFH has still to announce a shortlist of preferred partners.
Joyce assured the Telecommunication Carriers Forum that the CFH has finished its initial analysis of the 32 proposals received, and a request for refined proposals will be released shortly. He added: ‘The government is absolutely committed to delivering on our broadband objectives of ultra-fast broadband services to three quarters of New Zealand within the next ten years. This objective remains firmly within our sight’.