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Kiwi UFB uptake passes 10%

19 Nov 14

Broadband connections have increased nearly 40% over the past quarter according to the latest quarterly figures of the Government’s ultrafast broadband and rural broadband initiative.

The figures, released yesterday by Communications Minister Amy Adamas, show around 536,000 end-users are now able to connect to UFB, though only 55,000 are connected. However, 15,500 of those connected to UFB in the three months to September, a 39% increase on last quarter.

The figures indicate a 10% uptake nationally, compared with a national uptake rate of 7% the previous quarter, with the project now 6% ahead of build schedule.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, as of September, the UFB deployment progress was 100% complete for Northland. Waikato and Taranaki were sitting at 71% and 62% completed respectively, while Auckland was 26% complete, with Wellington at 29% and Canterbury at 36%.

The West Coast trails other regions at 12% complete.

More than 91% of the programme target for schools to be ready for service has been reached.

Adams says as fibre rolls out across towns and regions, momentum is building ‘as more Kiwis recognise the benefits of increased speeds and reliability that fibre provides’.

“Faster broadband is critical to growing the economy, driving innovation and improving outcomes in education, health and the not-for-profit sector,” says Adams.

“The next step is extending UFB from a target of 75% to 80% of New Zealanders, funded from the Future Investment Fund, as announced during the election campaign.”

Adams says in October, Te Awamutu became the second Kiwi town to have its UFB build completed.

Meanwhile of the RBI side, more than 70% of tower upgrades are now complete, with 282 upgraded and 98 new towers installed since the start of the programme.

During the last three months more than 1.2 million unique Vodafone customers accessed mobile services from the 98 new towers.

Seventy-five thousand lines have been upgraded under the RBI to deliver improved copper services.

Adams says around $1.6 billion has already been committed to the UFB and RBI projects, with between $152 million and $210 million for phase two of the UFB build. The RBI, which has provided faster broadband for 67,000 people, has also received a $150 million boost for phase two.

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