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Thursday, 02 August 2012 17:46

New Zealand's NBN: 76,000 premises, only 1200 customers

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The New Zealand Government says its national broadband network initiative has exceeded initial targets with fibre reaching 76,000 urban premises, but only 1200 customers have signed up for FTTP services to date.

Announcing the figures, communications minister, Amy Adams said the figure was in line with expectations. "It has always been our belief, based on overseas experience, that uptake will build gradually over the period of the network build. We are starting to see some exciting product offerings from retail service providers, but it takes time for products to be developed for the market and for people to recognise the value of UFB."

In Australia release of the latest version of NBN Co's corporate plan is imminent and there seems to be a widespread belief that it will reveal rollout and uptake figures well behind earlier expectations.

New Zealand has two separate government broadband projects: the Ultra Fast Broadband initiative that is taking fibre to 75 percent of premises in urban areas over 10 years and the Rural Broadband Initiative that is taking fibre to large facilities such as schools and hospitals and wireless broadband to homes in rural areas.

Adams announced that the year one target for the UFB initiative had been exceeded by more than 6000 premises, with the fibre network now reaching more than 76,000 schools, businesses, hospitals and households and that under the first year of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), more than 69,000 rural homes and businesses had gained access to improved broadband.

She said that by July next year about 235,000 premises would to be covered by the UFB network and more than 100,000 rural homes and businesses would have access to faster broadband. UFB deployment has started in 24 towns and cities and the first UFB connections are available in 17 of these regions.

Adams also responded to suggestion that the full potential of the UFB would not be realised in the wake of Pacific Fibre abandoning its plans for a new cable system linking New Zealand to Australia and the USA. "Despite recent comments from some quarters, New Zealand has sufficient transit capacity to handle increased network demand from UFB," she said.

However commentators were not suggesting a lack of capacity as the result of Pacific Fibre's demise but rather a lack of competition leading to high prices that would stifle demand for the bandwidth promised by the UFB.

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