More than half a million households, businesses, schools and health centres are now able to connect to the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband network, which continues to rollout ahead of schedule.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams today released the latest quarterly report on the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiatives (RBI).
The report shows the UFB programme is about 7 per cent ahead of schedule. Over the three months to 30 June 2014, a further 96,339 end users gained access to fibre.
This takes the total number of households, businesses, schools and health centres who are able to connect to the UFB network to more than 517,000. The RBI is also ahead of schedule, with more than 230,000 rural homes and businesses now having access to either fast wireless broadband or improved copper services.
Eighty-nine new towers have been built to date against a target of 74, and 262 cell sites have been upgraded against a target of 203 by June 2014. More than 2200 schools now have fibre installed and ready for service.
In addition, 41 of the most remote rural schools in New Zealand now have access to broadband capable of peak speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (about four times faster than previous services).
In all, more than 90 per cent of all schools who will be covered by the programme can now connect to faster broadband.
The number of customers signing up to a service under the UFB programme has jumped by about 44 per cent since the last quarter, taking the total number to 39,510.
This is in line with government expectations and overseas experiences at this stage of deployment, when there is still nearly six more years to complete the UFB build.
Total connections are quadruple the level they were 12 months ago. In some areas, such as Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Whangarei, uptake rates are at about 10 per cent.
“This government is delivering world-class connectivity to drive innovation, create jobs, and grow our economy,” Ms Adams says.
“Faster broadband internet and fibre connectivity are absolutely key to New Zealand’s future prosperity and our ability to participate in the global economy.
“Our broadband programme is estimated to deliver GDP growth stemming from the programme of $5.5 billion over 20 years, and $33 billion of economic benefits to New Zealand end users of high-speed broadband applications.”