FTTH the right choice: NZ IT minister

Summary:New Zealand's communications minister has backed Australia's approach to the National Broadband Network, stating that a fibre-to-the-home network is the right way to go.

New Zealand's Communications Minister Amy Adams has said that her country is rolling out a fibre-to-home network similar to Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), because it is "comprehensive and future-proof".

Adams joined her Australian counterpart Stephen Conroy in Canberra on Thursday, to launch a report on mobile roaming and suggest ways to combat excessive trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges .

At the media conference, the NZ minister was asked to explain why her government was to go down the path of a fibre network to deliver high-speed broadband.

"The most comprehensive and future-proof network we could build was a fibre-to-the-home package," Adams said.

"Effectively, it made far better fiscal sense ... and all the feedback we've had is it's been the right way to go."

"It made better sense to do it now, rather than have to come back in the future and retrofit a fibre-to-the-node to a fibre-to-the-home connection."

Although the urban areas of New Zealand are being serviced by fibre-to-the-home and a total of about NZ$3.5 billion of the project, which includes about NZ$2 billion from the private sector, has been set aside, rural areas will be covered using fibre-to-the-node. From the node, these areas will be serviced by a combination of enhanced copper, fixed wireless or a satellite service, and will cost about NZ$600 million, about half of which is privately funded.

"We've made a commitment that every school in New Zealand will receive speeds of 100 megabits, initially, and to get that in some of our most remote areas, it just made no sense to do it on a fibre basis," Adams said.

"In the roll-out to the densely populated areas, fibre-to-the-home is our clear preference, and we've very satisfied that that's the way to go. When you're rolling out connectivity into rural and remote areas, you have to take a slightly different view."

Adams said that the aim was to lift broadband access across the nation from 20 per cent to 86 per cent, for households, schools and health services.

Michael Lee contributed to this report.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government : AU, Telcos

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