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NZRFG welcomes regional approach to UFB

NZRFG welcomes regional approach to UFB

New Zealand Regional Fibre Group members are the only organisations short-listed for ‘prioritised negotiations’ with Crown Fibre Holdings to begin building the Government-backed ultra-fast broadband network.

Five electricity lines and fibre companies within the nationwide lines and fibre collective who are represented in three UFB bids, have this morning been short-listed for ‘prioritised negotiations’ by CFH.

Those selected by CFH are Alpine Energy (Timaru); the Central North Island Fibre Consortium comprising WEL Networks, Velocity Networks and Waipa Networks (Hamilton - including Cambridge and Te Awamutu - Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Hawera and Tokoroa); and Whangarei’s Northpower.

The announcement moves the NZRFG a step closer to playing a pivotal role in shaping the delivery of fibre-based communications services to New Zealanders

Pending the outcome of negotiations with Crown Fibre Holdings around the ultra-fast broadband initiative, the members may well be partnering with CFH within a matter of months to begin urban fibre builds in major pockets of the North Island and South Canterbury by the end of the year.

Alpine Energy’s CEO Andrew Tombs says success in the forthcoming negotiations will result in strong economic and social benefits for South Canterbury.

“For us this is great news because not only does it provide a commercial option for Alpine and its shareholders, I see this as a very strong social and economic enabler in years to come,” says Mr Tombs.

Northpower fibre manager Darren Mason says “the community-owned company intends to get the UFB build underway in Whangarei as soon as possible. This new initiative will be revolutionary because as it stands our existing fibre network is already spurring the development of new service providers and driving increased efficiencies for local businesses.”

“With the network speeds people are now accessing on our fibre, they are able to download information in seconds and transfer large data files with ease and that is great for a region like Northland,” says Mr Mason.

Mr Mason says people need only consider what life would be like without power to gain an insight into what innovations will develop on a fibre platform.

“To think that Whangarei could be at the forefront of a fibre network build, which really is a form of future-proofing New Zealand’s communications infrastructure, is very exciting.”

Meanwhile, WEL’s Julian Elder says the merits of the NZRFG’s locally owned, regionally focussed approach to communications infrastructure has effectively been endorsed by the CFH’s short-listing and prioritisation of specific regions for fibre network builds.

He also is looking forward to progressing negotiations and says all NZRFG members remain willing and able to begin network builds now in an effort to bring fibre-driven broadband speeds of 100Mbit/s to as many New Zealanders as possible.

“This will be a massive step-change for our economy and the regions stand to benefit immensely as these networks grow. Fibre is the future in the communication landscape,” says Dr Elder.


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