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Study will help target broadband investment

Study will help target broadband investment in Auckland and Bay of Plenty

A new study is expected to identify how investment in broadband in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty can be prioritised to deliver the most benefit to the businesses and communities in these regions.

The Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Tauranga’s economic development agency Priority One have commissioned economic consultants BERL to identify the economic sectors and local areas in the two regions that will benefit most from ultrafast broadband. Chairman of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, John Cronin says “this is a great example of interregional collaboration.”

This is timely given the study comes after the government has awarded the first round of investment under the urban ultrafast fibre initiative, but before decisions have been made on rural priorities and the amount of funding for urban and rural Auckland.

With over 40% of the country’s population and a similar amount of GDP being generated in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, targeting investment in ultra fast broadband to these businesses and households who need it most is critically important.

Arthur Anae, chairperson of the Auckland Council’s Economic Development Forum said, “We need comprehensive investment in broadband delivery across Auckland and Bay of Plenty now, but we must be sure that we invest wisely. Frank Aldridge, chairperson of Priority One and member of the Bay of Connections Regional Governance Group says “this study will tell us where the return on investment and uptake is so as to maximise economic and community benefit.”

The study will investigate both which firms and sectors and which local areas within the two regions will be likely to gain the greatest benefit from ultrafast broadband capacity. The results will give a picture of the demand for ultrafast broadband, which will help to prioritise the roll out of new fibre capacity for both Crown Fibre and the local fibre companies.

The intention is to ensure that additional infrastructure capacity is provided first where demand will be highest. The study is expected to be completed by April 2011 followed by a round of presentations to key stakeholders.

ENDS

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