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Fibre uptake builds as project reaches 25% milestone

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.  More than five percent of users able to connect have choosen to buy a fibre service. That fibre uptake number is possibly understated because of the delays some customers face in getting connected to 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. If anything we are improving faster than most countries.

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

Fibre uptake winners and losers

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. More than 179,000 rural homes and businesses can to connect to either wireless broadband or an improved copper link.

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