26 January 2017
TUANZ welcomes today’s long awaited announcement around the extension of the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme beyond the current 75% of population coverage.
“As the only independent organisation representing the users of digital technology, we have long advocated for fibre based services to be available to as many New Zealander’s as possible, and so we are pleased to see today’s announcement of the UFB2 contracts”, said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ. “We welcomed the initial announcement of a proposed extension during the 2014 election campaign and while the fulfilment of that promise has taken some time, are happy to see that the target has been surpassed and aims to reach 85% of New Zealanders by 2024.”
Today’s announcement is welcome because it continues to reduce the copper gap that exists for the people who were originally left out of the UFB project by extending the programme to another 151 towns. “We are also pleased to see the inclusion of several areas on the fringe of the current cities that were also left out of the original plans” Mr Young said.
TUANZ continues to push for better quality connectivity for all New Zealander’s and will not let up on representing users to ensure the remaining 15% of residents and businesses, get access to fibre-equivalent services in the same timeframe. “Rural New Zealand deserves the same quality services as their urban cousins not only for lifestyle reasons, but because a vast amount of New Zealand’s economic innovation and prosperity comes from farms and businesses located within that last 15%” said Mr Young.
TUANZ will again this year in May host in partnership with the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand, the Rural Connectivity Symposium. “In an election year, hearing from the political parties their goals around investment in this critical area, as well as sharing rural users perspective will be incredibly important to ensure the understanding that the need for continued improvement has not stopped with this announcement.”