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CFH announces shortlist and negotiations for UFB

CFH announces shortlist and negotiations for first stage roll-out of UFB

Marking an important step in the roll out of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) Initiative, Crown Fibre Holdings has shortlisted 14 parties following a review of the refined proposals received in August.

From this shortlist, Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH) has selected three parties for prioritised negotiations. The three bids, representing a significant portion of the UFB build, are:

• Alpine Energy (Timaru);
• The Central North Island Fibre Consortium (Hamilton - including Cambridge and Te Awamutu - Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Hawera and Tokoroa); and
• Northpower (Whangarei).
“These three parties have displayed the best proposals including a combination of access prices, funding provisions, industry experience and financial backing,” said CFH Chairman Simon Allen.

“Their approach best met the Government’s UFB objectives. UFB should lead to exciting consumer product offerings as well as enabling increased productivity for business and improving service delivery in health and education. CFH believes these respondents can drive strong uptake and offer competitive access prices that providers of retail services will find attractive.

“On the basis that CFH successfully concludes binding offers with these parties, the Government and its partners will be bringing fibre to a significant part of New Zealand, which marks a real milestone for this initiative.

The remaining shortlisted parties will continue in the partner selection process.

“CFH will be having further discussions with the other shortlisted parties, and as a consequence of those discussions will elect other parties to negotiate with to meet the balance of the UFB target,” said Mr Allen.

“All shortlisted parties remain important contenders for future negotiations of binding agreements. CFH is open to either a Telecom, New Zealand Regional Fibre Group solution, or some form of combination for the balance of the UFB project.”

The party that has not been shortlisted at this stage is Canadian-based Axia NetMedia. Mr Allen said that this party’s bid included certain elements that were not part of the Government’s UFB policy.

"I am pleased to confirm that CFH is well on track to make recommendations for binding offers for initial investment partners to shareholding Ministers in October 2010, and to commence the roll-out of UFB before the end of the year," said Mr Allen.


Summary of Respondents

Shortlisted and “elected for” Negotiation:
• Alpine Energy Ltd covering Timaru
• Central North Island Fibre Consortium. This is a consortium between WEL Networks Ltd, Waipa Networks Ltd and the Hamilton Fibre Network, and covers Hamilton (including Cambridge and Te Awamutu), Tauranga, Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Hawera and Wanganui
• Northpower Ltd covering Whangarei

• CityLink Ltd covering Wellington Region including the Hutt Valley and Porirua
• Central Fibre Consortium. This is a consortium between Counties Power Ltd, Eastland Group Ltd, Horizon Energy Distribution Ltd, Unison Networks Ltd, and Centralines Ltd, and covers Pukekohe, Waiuku, Rotorua, Taupo, Whakatane, Gisborne, Napier, Hastings, Palmerston North, Feilding and Masterton
• Electra Ltd covering Levin and Kapiti
• Electricity Ashburton covering Ashburton
• Enable Networks Ltd covering Christchurch and Rangiora
• Flute Network. This is a consortium between Aurora Energy Ltd, Electricity Invercargill Ltd and The Power Company Ltd, covering Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown
• Network Tasman Ltd covering Nelson and Blenheim
• Network Waitaki Ltd covering Oamaru
• Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd covering all 33 Candidate Areas
• Vector Ltd covering the Auckland region
• Westpower Ltd covering Greymouth

Not Shortlisted
• Axia NetMedia Corporation, covering all 33 Candidate Areas

Background on Crown Fibre Holdings and the UFB initiative:
• CFH has been established to manage the Crown's investment in Ultra-Fast Broadband infrastructure over the next ten years.
• In October 2009, an Invitation to Participate was released.
• In January 2010 initial responses were received.
• Assessment of existing proposals was completed at the end of May.
• In July 2010 respondents were asked to refine their proposals, and in August 2010 refined proposals were received.
• Proposals received cover all of the 33 UFB Candidate Areas.


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