Telecom New Zealand has been selected by government agency Crown Fibre Holdings to take part in priority negotiations for the country’s NZD1.35 billion (USD972.4 million) Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative, it has been announced. Crown Fibre has indicated that negotiations with Telecom will cover 25 geographic regions, representing a sharp about-turn from its previous standpoint. In September 2010 TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Telecom New Zealand had been omitted from the first round of priority negotiations, after its plan to offer a nationwide rollout across all 33 regions was dismissed in favour of a region-by-region approach.
Areas that Telecom have been excluded from negotiating in are: Hamilton, Tauranga, Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Hawera and Wanganui, where agreements have already been approved with the Ultra Fast Fibre consortium, which is spearheaded by WEL Networks; Whangarei, where an agreement exists with Northpower; and Timaru which is covered by a deal with Alpine Energy. Additionally, Enable Networks has been selected to cover Christchurch and Rangiora, and Flute Joint Venture, represented by Aurora Energy, will cover Dunedin.
Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds commented: ‘We are pleased to have been selected for preferred negotiations and look forward to engaging in detailed discussions with Crown Fibre Holdings and the Ministry of Economic Development over the coming months. Over the past few months we have worked tirelessly to refine our proposal in order to meet the needs of our shareholders at the same time as achieving the objectives of the government, and we will continue to do so as the process progresses. We remain firmly of the belief that a structurally separate Chorus as the cornerstone of a national framework for fibre is the most efficient and effective way to deliver the government’s fibre vision and that is reflected in our proposal. We reiterate our openness to partnership with other public and private sector owners of fibre assets where partnership can improve the overall economics and deliver fibre further and faster for New Zealand’.