Guest post: Researcher evaluating the UFB deployment

Marlies Van der Wee is a student at the Ghent University in Belgium and she’s here studying with the University of Auckland School of Business looking at fibre deployments to compare the New Zealand approach with similar but different European models.

Marlies needs input from those in the industry who are involved in the UFB project to better understand the characteristics that surround the deployment.

More information on the project can be found here and contact details for Marlies are at the bottom of the post.


Evaluating the UFB deployment?

In New Zealand the government is investing $1.5 billion in the Ultra-Fast Broadband deployment, giving the possibility to 75% of New Zealanders to have a Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) connection by 2019. This nationwide project however contrasts sharply with the local and regional initiatives taken in Europe. Most FTTH deployments there are managed on a town or city-level, and frequently steered by local stakeholders, such as utility companies, municipalities, housing organizations, etc. 

Good examples of European cases include Stokab, a publicly-owned company that deployed dark fibre in Stockholm, Sweden, and leases this passive infrastructure to all interested parties (telecom operators, but also large businesses, media companies, health institutions, etc.). Another successful deployment can be found in The Netherlands, where third party operator Reggefiber (established by the private equity firm Reggeborgh) deploys FTTH in all areas where sufficient demand is guaranteed. Private initiatives are mostly driven by competitive networks, as is the case of Portugal, where the national incumbent is deploying FTTH in order to compete with the TV offer of ZON Multimedia, and stimulated by the regulator, who did not introduce any unbundling obligation.

Although all initiatives are striving towards the same goals in the end, the paths taken differ strongly and lead to varying degrees of influence on the performance of the different deployments. The question now arises if a relationship can be found between the characteristics of these different initiatives and their performance in terms of speed of deployment, coverage and uptake.

Evaluating and comparing FTTH deployments in New Zealand and Europe is exactly the topic of the research project performed by two researchers: Fernando Beltran (University of Auckland, Business School) and Marlies Van der Wee (Techno-Economic Research Unit at Ghent University, Belgium). Marlies arrived in Auckland last month, and will work at the University of Auckland until the end of February.

The project looks into the interaction between technology, policy and the market, covering a range of issue areas such as the financing structure and economic investment model, the operational business model including open access or unbundling obligations, the wholesale regulation on both copper and fibre, the impact of retail pricing schemes and the development of competition both at the infrastructure level (inter-platform competition) and the retail level (intra-platform competition).

The goal is to analytically compare these different FTTH deployments while linking the analysis to measurable performance criteria such as speed of deployment, coverage and uptake, which will allow the researchers to assess the deployments on the basis of their efficiency and effectiveness. 

In the end, the project aims to draw conclusions on the most important influencing characteristics driving FTTH deployment and uptake. The comparison of New Zealand and Europe furthermore brings the added value of broadening the view into different political, technological and market structure background settings.

Although this project is initiated by the academic community, the best outcome can only be achieved if the major actors in the field are willing to discuss, contribute and share relevant data. 

With this post, we would therefore invite all interested partners (telecom operators, service providers, user organizations, authorities, etc.) to contact us and support this analysis from their own perspective and with the information they can provide.

Contact info:

Fernando Beltrán

DECIDE: University of Auckland Business 

Decision Making Lab, Co-director

PING Research Group, Director

ISOM Department

The University of Auckland Business School 

New Zealand 

+64 09 923 7850

+64 021 3502282


Marlies Van der Wee

Techno-Economic Research Unit

Internet Based Communication Networks and 

Services (IBCN)

Department of Information Technology

Ghent University – iMinds


+64 021 2930267

A detailed description of our project can be found here