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Closing of Broadband Challenge Fund Applications

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister for Information Technology

Tomorrow is the closing date for full applications to the Broadband Challenge Fund – which is a key part of the Labour-led government's Digital Strategy and drive to transform the New Zealand economy.

The Broadband Challenge will provide seed funding to improve the availability and quality of broadband internet access by establishing up to 15 urban fibre networks by 2009, and by developing broadband internet access solutions for rural and poorly served communities.

"I have been encouraged by the level of interest and commitment coming from those involved in developing full applications for the Broadband Challenge," says Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe.

"I am looking forward to exploring and taking advantage of the opportunities that faster, cheaper broadband will deliver to New Zealand."

Applications are in two stages. The first required applicants to submit an Expression of Interest to be considered by the Digital Strategy Steering Group. From the 35 received, 13 were invited to submit full applications:

o West Coast Development Trust
o North Shore City
o Hamilton City Council
o Waikato Trust
o Auckland Regional Council
o Smartlinx 3 (Porirua, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt City Councils)
o Christchurch Broadband Limited
o Nelson Marlborough Limited
o 2020 Communications Trust Tangimoana
o Tuhoe Education Authority
o Local Authority Shared Services (Waikato Region)

Success at the EOI stage does not mean that any funding will be allocated to applicants. Applicants successful at this stage and wishing to progress to the next stage are required to submit a full application together with detailed supporting documents. The full applications will be assessed against the criteria for the fund and the level of funding (if any) will be determined at this stage.

Unsuccessful applicants who submitted eligible applications are being encouraged and supported to submit expressions of interest in a future round.

ENDS

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