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ihug set to spend $20Mil to improve broadband

Media release
December 13th, 2005

ihug set to spend $20Mil to improve broadband

Ihug, New Zealand’s second largest ADSL broadband provider, has announced that it will invest more than $20Mil if the government opens up access to the local loop, allowing companies to provide broadband and phone services to New Zealanders using Telecom’s infrastructure.

Chief executive Mark Rushworth says local loop unbundling (LLU) will see Kiwis get better value broadband and phone services and is easily the best chance for New Zealand to improve their poor OECD ranking for broadband uptake.

“It’s time for New Zealand to enjoy the communications benefits that the rest of the developed world has, by unbundling our local loop. We’ve tried UBS as alternative to LLU and clearly it hasn’t worked – it’s just lipstick on a pig.”

Ihug is ready and committed to invest as soon as the government recognises LLU as the safe and viable option that it is.”

Rushworth says over the next 12 months ihug is planning to acquire smaller, well-established internet providers in key locations to support future LLU investment.

“Internet services are getting cheaper and cheaper for customers but the cost of providing the services is increasing and with customers ditching the more profitable dial up to get broadband, smaller providers are finding it increasingly hard to survive. There are only four internet providers in New Zealand with more than 100,000 customers and as one of them, acquiring smaller players is key to our growth.”

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Established in 1994 ihug is New Zealand’s original Internet pioneer and the second largest provider of ADSL broadband, with over 100,000 subscribers. In October 2003 ihug merged with iiNet Limited - Australasia's third largest Internet service provider. The iiNet Ltd Group currently has 700,000 subscribers using broadband, dial-up and telephony products in New Zealand and Australia. For more information, please visit Ihug – voted ISP of the year, TUANZ innovation awards, 2005.

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