The New Zealand government has announced that high speed fibre networks built under the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme now pass more than one million households and businesses. ‘This milestone has been ten years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network,’ Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi said, adding: ‘Uptake on the network is now at 58.9%, which significantly exceeds expectations back when the UFB programme was first developed.’ The Ministry noted that UFB networks were available to 83% of the population at end-June.
In related news, the government has announced that NZD50 million (USD33 million) has been allocated for further rural broadband connectivity from the NZD3 billion earmarked for infrastructure in the country’s COVID Response and Recovery Fund. The investment in ‘shovel ready’ projects, which is in addition to the NZD15 million announced in late April to upgrade rural mobile towers, is intended to boost broadband access and capacity across most regions of New Zealand, with an emphasis on Te Tai Tokerau (Northland), Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Top of South and Canterbury, secondly, Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui, Auckland rural areas and Otago, and thirdly Hawkes Bay, West Coast, Taranaki, Wellington (rural),and Southland. In particular it aims to increase availability in high density rural and urban fringe areas that experienced congestion and capacity constraints during the COVID-19 lockdown.