MBIE issues progress update on UFB, RBI projects

9 Aug 2016

A new broadband deployment update published by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has confirmed that the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) network now passes more than one million premises.

With the regulator noting that almost 70% of the first phase of rollout has been completed, the number of premises able to connect to the UFB infrastructure stood at 1.007 million at the end of June 2016, after more than 85,000 premises were added to the network footprint in the second quarter of the year. In terms of the number actually taking up a UFB-based service, at mid-2016 the total rose to 240,625, representing a 22.4% increase from the start of the year. Looking ahead, the MBIE has confirmed it expects around 75% of New Zealanders to be able to connect the UFB once the first phase of deployment is complete by the end of 2019, with around 1.459 million premises to have been passed by that date.

Meanwhile, under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) the government is aiming to ensure that 97% of rural households have access to broadband services with speeds of at least 5Mbps, and according to the latest official figures the state is closing in on this target. As at end-June 2016 90% of homes and businesses outside UFB areas – or around 290,000 premises – had access to broadband at peak speeds of at least 5Mbps via either fixed-wireless or improved copper-based services, with 114,869 such connections reported at that date.