Crown Fibre Holdings, the government agency in charge of New Zealand’s NZD1.35 billion (USD972.4 million) Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative has confirmed that work has started on its fibre rollout, with the first connection set to be laid at Manaia View School in Whangarei, the northernmost city in New Zealand. In September power lines maintenance company Northpower was selected for priority negotiations to become the regional partner for the Whangarei area. Northpower’s place on the shortlist was confirmed last week, and this portion of the UFB deal will see fibre rolled out to around 52,000 people in Whangarei by 2014, including more than 2,000 business premises, over 300 healthcare services and more than 20 schools.
Steven Joyce, Minister for Communications and Information, attended an event at the school to mark the start of work. He commented: ‘This is the first stage in a government plan which will see fibre enabling speeds of at least 100Mbps rolled out to 75% of New Zealanders where they live, work and study. The UFB policy is a key platform for the government and after a huge amount of work behind the scenes I’m pleased now to see some concrete results. The future of broadband is in fibre, and taking it right to the home will bring significant gains for productivity, innovation and global reach. This is an exciting day for Whangarei and for New Zealand’.