There are now more than 100,000 urban homes, business and schools able to connect to the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) project, ICT Minister Amy Adams said in a statement this afternoon.
The UFB, backed by $1.35 billion in taxpayer funding, officially kicked off 16 months ago, but has been under way in earnest since June.
At its annual meeting last week Chorus – which holds close to 80% of the project by premise – said it has now laid fibre past 72,000 premises.
However, only 700 premises have taken advantage of the opportunity to connect fibre from the kerb to their home or business.
Yesterday, Enable, the council-owned company that won the Christchurch UFB contract, told NBR ONLINE it had 1021 fibre connections, or 471 more than June 2011 (the company has rolled in its existing fibre connections to its total).
Last Thursday, the government announced a deal with the four UFB companies (Chorus, Enable, Ultrafast Fibre and Northpower) to provide free residential connections until the end of of 2015.
It is hoped the deal will accelearate the so far sluggish fibre adoption, and encourage the big two retail ISPs Telecom and Vodafone (now including TelstraClear), to launch residential fibre plans.
Telecom has said it will launch early next year. Vodafone has yet to set a date. CEO Russell Stanners has told NBR that the UFB install experience is far from ready for prime time.
RAW DATA: Statement from ICT Minister Amy Adams statement
Ultra-Fast Broadband milestone reached
More than 100,000 end users in urban areas are now able to connect to the Ultra-Fast Broadband network, only 16 months after the project started.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams today released the latest quarterly report on the government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband (RBI) programmes.
The report shows good progress continues to be made on a project that will ultimately transform New Zealand’s connectivity.
More than 1000 schools have access to fibre under both the UFB and RBI programmes. Furthermore, 14 of New Zealand’s most remote schools have been connected to faster broadband.
In addition to the UFB numbers, under the government’s RBI programme a further 55,000 rural homes and businesses have access to improved fixed wireless broadband through Vodafone, and 23,000 users through Chorus have enhanced fixed-line services.
Ms Adams says more than 2400 customers have already made the decision to subscribe to a fibre-based service under the UFB programme, which is in line with government expectations and overseas experiences.
“This indicates gradual early stage uptake, which is to be expected at this phase of the build, with only a few retail products so far on offer. We expect uptake to increase markedly as the build reaches greater completion,” Ms Adams says.
“The deployment of this digital technology is one of the largest and transformative infrastructure projects ever to be undertaken in New Zealand. UFB covers 33 towns and cities, and involves thousands of kilometres of fibre being laid over an eight-year period.
“Taking fibre direct to businesses, schools, hospitals and households will bring significant gains for productivity, innovation and global reach.”
With the combined efforts of the UFB and RBI programmes, 97.8 per cent of New Zealanders will have access to faster broadband.