The government of New Zealand has confirmed plans to extend its Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) programmes to cover 80% of the population rather than the original figure of 75%. The ruling National Party first announced the project expansion last September, and Communications Minister Amy Adams has now revealed that at least NZD250 million (USD184 million) in additional funding is to be pumped into the schemes. The UFB programme involves the deployment of high speed fibre networks in urban areas, while the RBI project is geared towards connecting more rural areas through the use of wireless technologies.
Adams said in a statement: ‘… the government is building on its existing commitments and investing an additional NZD152 million to NZD210 million to lift the UFB program coverage from 75% to 80% of New Zealanders. We are also investing NZD100 million to expand the Rural Broadband program, and NZD50 million to improve mobile coverage in black spot areas along main highways and in popular tourist destinations.’ At the end of 2014 the country had 69,301 signed up under its UFB schemes, up from 55,010 three months before.