Government fibre uptake builds as project reaches 25% milestone

Amy Adams

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says the government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband project has passed the 25 percent milestone with more than 363,000 users able to connect to the network.

The latest numbers released by Adams’ office suggest fibre uptake is improving with more than five percent of users able to connect choosing to buy a fibre service. That number is possibly understated because of delays some customers face in getting connected for fibre services.

While opposition politicians and some critics argue uptake rates are slow, Adams counters that the New Zealand numbers are on a par with those experienced elsewhere in the world.

The UFB project is scheduled for completion in 2019 when 75 percent of New Zealanders will have access to a 100Mbps fibre connection.

A more detailed report reveals some areas are doing better than others. Northland’s fibre roll-out is 87 percent complete, while in Auckland the figure only 16 percent. Wellington is also a laggard on 19 percent.

What’s striking about the numbers is that the political row that erupted over Chorus’ finances and a Commerce Commission ruling on the price of a copper broadband connection did little to derail the UFB build. Overall the project remains on schedule.

Meanwhile the government’s other broadband project, the Rural Broadband Initiative, continues to make progress with more than 179,000 rural homes and businesses able to connect to either wireless broadband or an improved copper link.