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3G mobile investment drives broadband surge

4 July 2008 Media Statement

3G mobile investment drives further broadband surge

Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe said New Zealand’s regulatory regime has given telecommunications companies the flexibility they require to bring broadband to rural areas.

Today Vodafone announced it is extending its mobile broadband offer outside the main centres.

“This announcement means that more New Zealanders will have access to high-speed internet, via their home computers, laptops and on their mobile phones,” Mr Cunliffe said.

The telecommunications company has started rolling out HSPA-enabled internet access in the 900 MHz frequency band.

HSPA (high speed packet access) is a set of technological standards that allows mobile operators to offer download and upload speeds similar to those offered over broadband lines in the home. It is also one mechanism to bring faster broadband speeds to rural New Zealand.

To reach customers in provincial and rural regions providers it is more cost effective to use HSPA in the 900 MHz band rather than the 2100 MHz band that has been used previously in urban areas.

“While many countries are still struggling with the removal of outdated restrictions on the use of lower frequency bands for HSPA, the flexible spectrum regulatory arrangements in New Zealand mean that the benefits of this technology can be delivered to New Zealanders now.”

Since the government undertook the Telecommunications Stocktake in 2005, telecommunications companies have announced significant investments:
- By 2010 Vodafone will have invested $500 million in its mobile broadband network
- Telecom has undertaken to invest $1.4 billion by 2012 in its next generation fixed network and a further $300 million on its own mobile broadband network
 A third mobile operator is investing at least $150 million to launch in New Zealand this year
- There are also significant investments in urban fibre loops and unbundled local loop access.

In total, private investment announcements under the current government will top $2.5 billion. The government will effectively add a further $1 billion, by providing $500 million of funding from Budget 2008 to be matched with at least $500 million from private investors.

ENDS

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