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Broadband announcement disappoints Wellington

Broadband announcement disappoints Wellington

“It’s disappointing that Wellington is not included in the first tranche of regions where the government will be rolling out ultra fast broadband fibre,” says Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Fran Wilde.

“It’s perfectly understandable that the cost of the actual roll-out in our region may be challenging, but a recent report indicates that the medium to long term economic benefits are, in fact, huge.”

A Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) report suggests that early roll-out of ultra fast broadband (UFB) in the Wellington urban areas would add an additional 11% to the region’s overall GDP by 2026, compared with a contribution of 8.9% that the nation-wide roll-out will make to New Zealand’s overall GDP.

“These numbers show that the national economy would benefit from the Wellington region being in the forefront of the government’s UFB roll-out”, Fran Wilde says.

“The report also shows that the greatest uptake and productivity gains from UFB are in the creative industries, central government, education and health – all key sectors in our regional economy, accounting for a quarter of all jobs in urban Wellington. Importantly, some of these sectors are also growing faster here than nationally.”

The BERL report is entitled The Economic Benefits of Early UFB Roll-out in Wellington Area. Fran Wilde says there are three factors that mean early roll-out of ultra fast broadband for the region will be more cost-effective than some have predicted.

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“We have population density and compact urban areas that are easily linked; Wellington’s urban population is likely to support high levels of demand for ultra fast broadband; and a regional project group comprising all councils and some central government agencies has worked hard to ensure the region is fibre-friendly.

“The Wellington Regional Strategy identified UFB as a key enabler of economic growth. In fact it is highlighted as being one of the two most important factors that would position the region to compete in the global economy,” said Fran Wilde.

“Early roll-out would improve productivity within existing businesses, create new opportunities and develop innovative business processes. It would also give us the strategic advantage that comes from being on the leading edge of innovation.”

Under the Government’s Ultra Fast Broadband Initiative, Wellington urban areas include Masterton. The rural parts of the region are covered by the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative. The region is also working with key parties in the region to ensure Wellington is one of the priority areas for rural fibre roll-out.

ends

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