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3 Years To Ultra-Fast Broadband

3 Years To Ultra-Fast Broadband

Much of Franklin could have ultra-fast fibre broadband at speeds of up to 1Tbit/s within three years – if Counties Power has its way.

The local electricity lines company is among a number of New Zealand Regional Fibre Group members to have submitted bids for consideration under the Government’s $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative.

The 19-strong group of lines and fibre companies has stated it can exceed the Government’s objectives in the UFB plan by taking fibre networks to around 80% of the country and extending beyond the 33 main centres the Government has highlighted as priorities.

Communications Minister, Hon Steven Joyce wants 75% of New Zealanders to have access to fibre to the door within 10 years. He is also planning to front with $300 million to ensure fibre spread into rural New Zealand.

CEO Neil Simmonds says if successful in its bid, Counties Power will establish an ultra-fast broadband network to the doors of 18,000 premises in Southern Papakura, Drury, Pukekohe, Waiuku and Bombay in only three years.

Only late last week the company completed testing on its latest fibre route from Drury to Bombay and Pokeno, where commercial customers can access broadband speeds from 100Mbit/s to an astonishing 1Tbit/s – depending on what hardware they choose to connect.

Mr Simmonds says such speeds are much faster than any copper-based broadband technology.

“The one area in our bid that will not be part of the (soon to be established) Super City is Tuakau but to us it makes sense to include the area – especially since we already have fibre near the township,” says Mr Simmonds.

He says the NZRFG has received numerous letters of support from many of New Zealand’s leading telecommunications providers, councils and service providers.

“Collectively NZRFG members can deliver a very thorough fibre to the door broadband solution. Many of the members, like Counties Power, have solid experience in fibre networks and are keen to extend those.

“Clearly, we want to partner with the Government to create what will become a future-proof nationwide ultra-fast fibre broadband network that will be critical to New Zealand’s economic productivity in decades to come. Ideally we’d like to start on that this year.

“The beauty of the NZRFG is that we meet all of the Government aims within the UFB initiative through a regionally focused but nationally coordinated approach,” he says.

“We have said for some time that with extensive electricity and fibre infrastructure already in place, we are well placed to add more fibre to the mix.

Mr Simmonds says he is surprised at how cost effectively Counties Power can extend its overhead fibre network in rural Franklin.

“That potentially allows scope for us to take fibre to the door of* * many of our rural customers in a very cost effective manner – and those numbers are outside of the initial 18,000 we are looking at. But first we have to be successful in our bid to attract Government funding.”

NZRFG members say New Zealand is long overdue for an overhaul of the traditional copper network.

“Through the provision of a true open access fibre network that facilitates extensive competition within our communications infrastructure and provides far superior broadband speed, consistency and capacity,” says Mr Simmonds.


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