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First UFB signings welcomed

First UFB signings welcomed Media Release – 7 December 2010

InternetNZ Chief Executive Vikram Kumar welcomes today’s announcement by Minister of Communication Steven Joyce that the first two partners have signed deals with Crown Fibre Holdings to create local fibre companies and roll out Ultra Fast Broadband.

The two areas chosen are a range of Central North Island towns and cities, and Whangarei.

“I am delighted with today’s announcement,” Vikram Kumar says.

“InternetNZ commissioned research in 2008 exploring the options for delivering National’s ultra-fast broadband policy. That study showed that the economics of electricity line company investment in fibre stack up.”

“We are pleased that CFH has been able to bear that analysis out with the deals announced today.

“Ultra-fast broadband is a game changer and seeing fibre rollout beginning in 2010 is welcome, especially given the delays that have cropped up in the process to date.

“The initial pricing information set out today is excellent. The services will be affordable and really will drive uptake of fibre services, which is essential to making the UFB investment work, and to realising the economic gains the network can offer.

“The decision to impose no connection fee for households adds to the compelling nature of the offer, and avoids what could have been a real barrier to families taking advantage of fibre services.

“Other things that influence uptake – non-price issues like data caps and maintaining a level playing field for online content providers – will also be a focus for us.

“Partnerships like this are highly complex and involve huge tradeoffs in the allocation of risk. We are pleased that contracts have managed to be concluded notwithstanding this – showing that the risk allocation has been satisfactory to both partners.

“InternetNZ will now be analysing the open access undertakings that apply to the deals, to see whether they are able to provide a robust guarantee of fair play for ISPs and other users of fibre.

“Of course, InternetNZ will continue to argue for a sound regulatory framework, and against the idea that a regulatory holiday is acceptable in the fibre world.

“That however does not detract from the significance of today’s announcements. Congratulations again to Steven Joyce and to the team at Crown Fibre for bringing the first set of negotiations to a conclusion,” Vikram Kumar says.

ENDS

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