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Internet Party Vows to Slash Internet Costs

Internet Party Vows to Slash Internet Costs

Introducing competition to the international bandwidth monopoly is a major step towards halving the costs of Internet services for all New Zealanders, says the Internet Party.

In its draft Cheaper, Universal Internet policy released today, the Internet Party says it will push for construction of an additional fibre optic submarine cable connecting New Zealand to Australia and the United States to end a bandwidth monopoly that is ultimately hitting Kiwis hard in the back pocket and stifling innovation.

“If prices for international Internet traffic don’t come down, New Zealand cannot grow in a digital age. It’s as simple as that,” said Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar.

“The international broadband monopoly is holding New Zealand back with high prices and artificial limitations on data. It seems unlikely that private business interests will be able to fund additional cables to Australia and the US and drive down prices without government support or intervention, so we will move forward with a public-private plan to fill the gap.”

Improving domestic Internet infrastructure and introducing a National Internet Architecture Plan are equally important. The South Island, in particular, suffers from significant costs and inefficiencies to Internet traffic flows.

“People living just outside the main cities and in rural areas have the biggest complaints about their Internet connections. While better wireless Internet connections are part of the answer, the Internet Party wants to introduce a more ambitious, bold goal – to provide ultra-fast broadband using fibre to the homes of everyone. Specifically, our goal is to provide fibre to the premises of the 97.8 per cent of New Zealanders, extending the 75 per cent under the Ultra Fast Broadband initiative to the whole of the Rural Broadband Initiative footprint.

“This will additionally address regional inequalities and provide a world of new opportunities to the whole of New Zealand.”

Mr Kumar said the widening gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” had created a digital divide.

“The Internet Party is committed to supporting Internet access for all New Zealanders, including those who are otherwise unable to afford it. Some 200,000 households – 69,000 of which have school-aged children –can’t afford the Internet or lack the ability to get online and benefit from what the Internet offers.

“We will significantly step up the Computers in Homes programme so that all households with school-aged children are online within five years, while expanding public Internet access facilities in schools, libraries, marae, councils and community centres through a mix of local business sponsorship and direct government support.

“Our policy will make New Zealand’s Internet cheaper and universally available, unlocking opportunities for economic growth, social justice, education and, above all, fairness,” said Mr Kumar. “New Zealand can become a global leader in the digital age if we choose to.”

The Internet Party’s draft Cheaper, Universal Internet policy is now online for review and discussion on the policy forum. The work-in-progress environment policy document is available here.


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