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InternetNZ commends National Party commitment

InternetNZ commends National Party fibre commitment

Media Release – 22 April 2008

InternetNZ (the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) welcomes today’s announcement by National Party Leader John Key that the National Party would invest $1.5 billion of public funds in an open access fibre-to-the-home network, if elected.

InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson says Key’s announcement shifts the debate from whether to have fibre-to-the-home, to how and how quickly to deploy it.

“National’s vision is for fibre to almost every New Zealand home with an initial priority to reach 75 percent coverage. The early focus on businesses, schools and health facilities would have appreciable economic, cultural and social benefits. This plan sets a baseline that other parties must now match or better,” says Davidson.

“Without a ubiquitous open access fibre network, New Zealand stands to miss out on productivity gains and business opportunities, and will suffer from an inability to communicate and collaborate at the same level as our trading partners.”

Fibre-to-the-home enables far greater data speeds, and Internet-based applications such as telecommuting, video-conferencing and high definition video on demand.

Important in National’s announcement are principles including that any network needs to be built on an open access basis, and avoiding crowding out existing investment plans.

InternetNZ is also encouraged by the National Party’s commitment to accelerating broadband roll-out to rural and remote areas.

The Society has maintained for some time that uptake of broadband network and service offerings in New Zealand’s rural sector needs to be urgently accelerated, says Davidson.

“National’s plan to double the Broadband Challenge Fund to $48 million and refocus it on rural areas would go some way in addressing the current lack of broadband investment in rural New Zealand.”

“We look forward to the policy response from Labour and the other parties in respect of their plans for fibre-to-the-home,” says Davidson.


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