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Nearly three quarters of Rolleston connected to UFB

Hon Kris Faafoi

Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media


8 November 2019 PĀNUI PĀPĀHO

MEDIA STATEMENT

The latest Quarterly Connectivity Report shows that more and more New Zealanders are moving to Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB), with Rolleston having the highest uptake at 74 per cent, as at the end of September.

“This means that nearly three quarters of Rolleston’s households and businesses have moved to ultra-fast services. That is an unprecedented amount of uptake in a New Zealand town and shows that the UFB network is not just providing benefits in the larger cities,” Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, said.

At the end of September, there were 10 cities and towns with uptake over 60 per cent. Whatawhata has jumped from 64 per cent to 69 per cent and Waiuku, Horitiu, and Lincoln, have uptake of between 66 and 67 per cent.

Nationally, UFB uptake has increased from 52 per cent to just under 55 per cent since the June quarter, which is higher than originally expected.

There were an additional 58,912 UFB connections in the three months to the end of September.

“With UFB roll-out in 126 cities and towns around New Zealand, the deployment is now 87 per cent completed and still ahead of schedule,” Minister Faafoi said.

Broadband coverage in rural areas has also steadily increased with approximately 40,000 households and businesses in hard to reach regions of New Zealand now having access to improved broadband under phase two of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI2).

Coverage has been provided to 1,416 additional rural households and businesses between June and September, enabling better online farm management, improvement in farm security in isolated areas, and better education access for rural students.

14 new mobile towers were commissioned during the latest update period, providing mobile coverage to three more tourism areas and 70 kilometres of State Highway mobile ‘blackspots’.

There are now 29 tourism sites and 308 kilometres of State Highway which have improved coverage from all three mobile operators.

“This investment and the connectivity it is making available shows this Government’s continued commitment to closing the digital divide so all New Zealanders who want connectivity, have it,” Mr Faafoi said.

When work on RBI2 and MBSF is completed by 2023, and combined with completion of the UFB roll-out, New Zealand will have broadband coverage to 99.8 per cent of the population.

It is also pleasing to note that during the September quarter a further 17 marae were connected to broadband bringing the total marae connected to 31.

The Quarterly Connectivity Report is released by Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and can be found at: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/quarterly..

The report provides information on the progress of:

• Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) roll-out

• Phase Two of the Rural Broadband Initiative and Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programmes

• Provincial Growth Fund marae digital connectivity programme

NOTE TO EDITORS

• The Rural Broadband Initiative phase two has made improved broadband available to 40,078 rural households and businesses, which is 48 per cent of the overall target.

• Under the Mobile Black Spot Fund Programme, mobile coverage is being deployed to State Highway ‘blackspots’ where there is currently no mobile coverage, to support public safety in high traffic areas where there are high incident rates. 308 kilometres of mobile coverage have been deployed on State Highway ‘blackspots’. Mobile coverage is also being deployed to tourism locations around New Zealand where there is currently no mobile coverage, to support tourism and economic growth. 29 tourism sites have new mobile coverage.

• The Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme is the broadband scheme deploying fibre-to- premises to 87 per cent of the population by 2022. UFB is currently available to 79 per cent of the population; with UFB connectivity completed to 126 towns and cities.

National uptake of UFB is 54.9 per cent, which is much higher than original forecasts.

In the September quarter there has been a 19 per cent increase in the number of gigabit connections.

• The PGF Marae Digital Connectivity programme was announced on 4 February 2019 and enables marae to receive a grant-funded broadband connection and associated hardware to enable use of the connection, creating marae ‘digital hubs’ that support communities to undertake economic activity and enhance their digital capability.

• More information can be found at CIP’s website: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz.


ends

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