Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has today confirmed a deal has been reached for free non-standard residential connections to the ultra-fast broadband network.
The government and Crown Fibre Holdings have reached agreement with UFB partners Chorus, Enable and Northpower that provides for free residential connections for distances of up to 200 metres per house from the road, until at least the end of 2015.
The remaining UFB partner company, Ultra-Fast Fibre, which operates in the central North Island, has already undertaken to provide free residential connections until 2019. It is the government’s intention to continue to work towards residential connections being free with the other UFB partners until the end of 2019, when the network build finishes.
“Today’s announcement provides certainty for the next three years while we finalise negotiations for the remainder of the build period,” Ms Adams says.
“Given the enormous benefits and the wide range of services UFB will offer, we want switching to fibre to be as simple as possible.
“While the provision of free connections was already in place for the vast majority of homes, the uncertainty for those classed as non-standard was creating some concern for retail service providers and the public.”
The UFB partners have agreed to fund the majority of the additional connection package, whilst some additional value has been provided through negotiated technical changes in the respective contracts without increasing the government’s $1.35 billion total investment.
Under the agreement, there is an allowance of 200 metres per property to connect to the UFB network. For example, three houses sharing a right of way would have up to 600 metres of free installation from the edge of the legal road.
In the rare event that the allowance is exceeded, a customer will need to contribute towards any costs beyond 200 metres.
Estimates suggest that only about 0.3 per cent of UFB residential premises fall into the category of having a connection longer than 200 metres.
“In negotiating with the UFB partners to achieve this outcome, we had to be mindful of ensuring a fair balance of equity between homeowners and getting the best use of public funds,” Ms Adams says.
“In reaching the final balance, it is my view, that for the largest of properties where the connection length exceeds 200 metres, it is appropriate those property owners contribute towards any additional cost.”
Under the package, fibre connections are also free for people who live in a multi-unit complex which is three storeys or less.
For multi-unit complexes that are more than three storeys, the UFB partners have already agreed to fund the first $1000 of installation costs per tenancy under their existing wholesale agreements with retail service providers.
“Faster broadband is an important part of our wider infrastructure programme which the government is setting out today in its Building Infrastructure report and I want to congratulate the Government's UFB partners for their commitment to a fibre future for New Zealand."