More than a quarter of the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband project has been completed, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has announced.
Releasing the latest quarterly report on the Government’s ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband programmes, reports show that over the three months to 31 December 2013, a further 40,630 end users gained access to fibre.
This brings the total number of end users who can connect to the UFB network to 363,109 people, meaning 27 per cent of the project has been completed.
Under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), more than 179,000 rural homes and businesses now have access to fast wireless broadband, and over 60,000 rural homes and businesses have access to improved copper broadband services.
Vodafone installed 16 new towers and upgraded a further 60 towers under the RBI while more than 2000 schools now have fibre installed and ready for service.
In addition, 39 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 80 per cent of all schools who will be covered by the programme can now connect to faster broadband.
Over the last quarter, the number of customers signing up to a service under the UFB programme has jumped by about 40 per cent, taking the total number to nearly 20,000.
This is in line with government expectations and overseas experiences at this stage of deployment, when there is still six more years to complete the UFB build.
The aim of the project is to bring fibre optic technology to businesses, schools, hospitals, marae and homes, enabling 75 per cent of New Zealanders to access fibre to the premise by the end of 2019.
Schools, hospitals and 90 per cent of businesses in the coverage area will be connected by the end of 2015, with homes and the remaining 10 per cent of businesses set to be connected by the end of 2019.
Fibre will be capable of peak speeds of at least 100 Mbps. The Government is contributing $1.35 billion to the initiative, with further investment by the UFB partners.