The New Zealand government has announced that its first stretch of fibre-optic cable has been deployed in Hamilton, marking the commencement of the government’s NZD1.5 billion Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. Communications minister Steven Joyce commented: ‘Stainless Design is the first of some 4,000 Hamilton businesses that will have the opportunity to benefit from improved broadband speeds at competitive prices as they are deployed and progressively connected over the next few years. The fibre-optic network will be open to retailers on equal terms, boosting market competition. Wholesale prices will be as low as half the price of current offerings for business services and residential customers will enjoy a vastly improved service for as much as they currently pay, or less’.
Under the terms of the UFB initiative, Ultra Fast Broadband Limited (UBL, formerly known as the Central North Island Fibre Consortium and Ultra Fast Fibre) was contracted to roll out fibre-optic infrastructure to around 163,000 premises in Hamilton, Tauranga, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Hawera and Tokoroa. The Hamilton deployment includes Te Awamutu and Cambridge, and will connect a combined population of more than 200,000, including about 4,000 businesses, some 650 medical centres and 63 schools. The rollout in Tauranga and Wanganui is scheduled to start in the coming weeks.