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Nelson region wants shared access with Telecom

December 4 2007 Media Release

Nelson region wants to talk shared access with Telecom

Nelson’s Regional Economic Development Agency and Nelson Mayor Kerry Marshall say Telecom should explore with them the opportunities for improved broadband in the region.

Telecom’s CEO Paul Reynolds told last week’s Digital Summit that his company will put in more than 2,500 kilometres of fibre-optic cable across New Zealand over the next four years and about 3,600 more cabinets to improve broadband speeds. In Nelson-Marlborough, about 65 kms of cable and 95 cabinets are promised by Telecom.

Dr Reynolds has also indicated a preparedness for Telecom to share infrastructure with other telecommunications providers.

Nelson Regional EDA Chief Executive, Bill Findlater, says he is very keen to meet Dr Reynolds to discuss the opportunity for Telecom to tap into the fibre-optic cable network which already stretches across Nelson-Marlborough.

“The Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency and its Marlborough counterpart have now all but completed a project with Network Tasman to lay an additional 40 kilometres of fibre optic cable across the top of the South. This expands the existing network to more than 350 kilometres of fibre stretching from Motueka in the west to Waikawa, east of Picton.

“This $1.8m project, financed through the government’s Broadband Challenge fund, builds on and utilises the even bigger high-speed broadband network put in place earlier by Network Tasman itself.

“Rather than Telecom replicating that infrastructure, we believe there’s an opportunity to make use of work already done and expand on it,” said Mr Findlater.

Mayor Kerry Marshall said he will be making an approach to Dr Reynolds for discussions aimed at using Telecom’s capital to fund the installation of fibre-optic cable in other parts of the top of the South where cable has not yet been laid.

“Telecom’s media statement specifically mentions laying cable in places including Nelson, Richmond, Motueka and Blenheim which already have a backbone network in place.

“It would be better for Telecom to spend its capital on delivering high-speed broadband to smaller communities like Collingwood and Havelock and to connect people living in the suburbs to the benefits only fibre-optic cable can bring.”

Communications and IT Minister David Cunliffe told the Digital Summit that the government is exploring alternative investment models to provide fibre optic cable to New Zealand homes. He said it would make sense for Telecom to effectively use existing infrastructure, and to share its own networks with other providers.

“Open access networks can play an important role to help fast-forward New Zealand into the ranks of nations with wide access to the broadband connectivity that fibre-optic cable delivers.”


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