Communications and Information Technology Spokeswoman Amy Adams says National will extend the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative from a target of 75 per cent of New Zealanders to 80 per cent of all New Zealanders.
“Fibre to the home is currently being rolled out across 33 towns and cities throughout New Zealand, and already it is the most ambitious communications infrastructure programme in the world, given our low population density,” Adams adds.
“Having completed nearly 40 per cent of the build to more than half a million houses and businesses, we believe it is time to extend UFB to a further 200,000 New Zealanders.
"This extension of the project will cost between $152 and $210 million and it will be funded from the Future Investment Fund."
Adams says the list of additional towns to receive fibre to the home, and the order of roll-out, will be determined following a competitive bid process, which will take into account the cost of deployment, strength of consumer demand, and regulatory and other assistance from local authorities.
However, based on the methodology used for the original roll-out, this could see a number of towns be strong contenders for inclusion in the UFB extension, including: Te Puke, Motueka, Morrinsville, Kerikeri, Huntly, Thames, Matamata, Ōtaki, Kawerau, Waitara, Kaitaia, Dannevirke, Alexandra, Stratford, Whitianga, Cromwell, Taumarunui, Picton, Foxton, Kaikohe, Marton, Te Kuiti, Katikati, Temuka, Waihi, Waipukurau, Warkworth, Carterton, Dargaville, Opotiki, Snells Beach, Te Aroha, Wairoa, Paeroa and Westport.
“This announcement follows on from our announcement last month that National will contribute a further $150 million to extend the Rural Broadband Initiative, which improves broadband coverage in more sparsely populated rural areas," Adams adds.
"These two announcements will mean almost every New Zealander will be able to access fast, more reliable internet services and bring our total investment in better connectivity for New Zealanders close to $2 billion.
“National’s commitment to the best possible telecommunications infrastructure is a key part of our programme to deliver world-class connectivity to drive innovation, create jobs and grow New Zealand’s economy.”