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Need for speed - the broadband challenge

Need for speed

Auckland City has responded to the broadband challenge issued by central government and today endorsed further investigation of options to achieve full-speed broadband at significantly lower costs for Auckland city.

"Broadband is vital to our economy. It is a critical enabler of productivity, growth and economic transformation," said Cr Richard Northey, chairperson of Economic Development and Sustainable Business committee.

"To encourage business growth and retention it is essential we do what we can from a local government angle to bring down cost, and encourage infrastructure deployment that takes us forward from copper wires to fibre optic and wireless technology. Auckland city needs the speed to be internationally competitive," said Mr Northey.

"Auckland is at risk of being left behind the rest of the developed world if we don't address why Aucklanders have been slow to take up this technology," said Mr Northey.

"An essential strategy in getting Aucklanders to uptake broadband is to lower the price and increase performance, so as to enable more broadband based services to be provided. Opening up the market to competition maybe a key factor in producing better products, lower prices and achieving rapid uptake," said Mr Northey.

"Broadband in Auckland city does not currently meet "full-speed" international standards and is the second most expensive service in the OECD and this is inhibiting people from using the services that broadband can enable," said Mr Northey.

Auckland City will investigate the practical issues around a number of options for the deployment of high-speed, open access broadband infrastructure.

Mr Northey added that broadband infrastructure is expensive to deploy because of the physical works. If developed by the private sector a return on investment is long-term and difficult to achieve. However, government can take into account the overall social and economic benefits. Some countries with the highest broadband uptake have had government-mandated investment.

Ends

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