NZRFG stakes strong claim for fibre rollout

Press Release – New Zealand Regional Fibre Group

The New Zealand Regional Fibre Group says it can meet the Government’s objectives in the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative. NZRFG stakes strong claim for fibre rollout

Fibre to the door NZ’s future broadband solution…

The New Zealand Regional Fibre Group says it can meet the Government’s objectives in the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative.

The 19-strong group has today submitted a number of closely aligned proposals for consideration under the Government’s $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband initiative.

Accompanying its bid are numerous letters of support from many of New Zealand’s leading telecommunications providers, councils and service providers.

Collectively, the NZRFG says it can deliver an exceptional fibre to the door broadband solution.

It wants to partner with the Government to create extensive ultra-fast fibre broadband networks around the country and hopes to begin work on the project this year.

NZRFG bids cover approximately 80% of the country and the group is proposing to extend out beyond the 33 main centres the Government has highlighted as priorities for ultra-fast fibre broadband.

The NZRFG believes it meets all Government aims within the UFB initiative through a regionally focused but nationally coordinated approach.

Two of the NZRFG bids are consortium-based and many others incorporate regional collaboration between members.

The consortium proposals are from Waikato-based WEL Networks (the combination of WEL, Waipa and Velocity Networks and Hamilton Fibre Network), plus the Otago and Southland joint venture partnership of Flute Network (Dunedin and Central Otago’s Aurora Energy, along with Southland’s Electricity Invercargill and The Power Company). Aurora Energy and the management company representing the other two Flute partners, PowerNet, are NZRFG members.

However, all other South Island NZRFG members – Enable Networks, Network Tasman, Electricity Ashburton, Alpine Energy, Network Waitaki and Westpower – have expressed openness in working together to provide the best fibre solution for the Government.

NZRFG founding member Vector hopes to secure the Auckland region contract – where it already has substantial investment in fibre.

Northpower has also submitted a bid for the Northland region.

Meantime, the North Island trio of Unison, Horizon Energy and Eastland Group have all expressed interest in rolling out the initiative across their geographic areas and are exploring ways to work together to provide a more efficient and effective deployment.

CityLink and Electra have pitched further proposals to establish fibre networks in the Government’s preferred candidate areas in the lower North Island.

The Government has highlighted dozens of towns and cities from Whangarei to Invercargill as priority areas in which to establish fibre networks and they include the likes of Wellington, Masterton, Kapiti and Horowhenua.

Communications Minister, Hon Steven Joyce wants 75% of New Zealanders to have access to fibre to the door within 10 years. He is also planning to front with $300 million to ensure fibre spread into rural New Zealand.

However, the Government must first select partners to work with and the NZRFG wants to be an integral part of that mix.

The group has said for some time that as a collective of 19 regional lines and fibre companies and with extensive electricity (and in some cases fibre) infrastructure already in place, it is well placed to add fibre to the mix – a factor the Government has been responsive to.

Ten members have already embarked on establishing fibre networks but say a Government funding boost would allow that process to be fast-tracked.

The NZRFG has consistently stated a desire to work with the Government and achieve the objectives set out within the ultra-fast fibre broadband initiative.

NZRFG members say New Zealand is long overdue for an overhaul of the traditional copper network, through the provision of a true open access fibre network that facilitates extensive competition within our communications infrastructure and provides far superior broadband speed, consistency and capacity.

ENDS

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