Joyce flags NZ fibre delays

The New Zealand Government's $1.5 billion investment in its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network faces lengthy delays as the government untangles 104 submissions on its broadband plan.

The New Zealand Government's $1.5 billion investment in its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network faces lengthy delays as the government untangles 104 submissions on its broadband plan.

"Given the volume and complexity of [the] issue I have decided to take a couple of months longer," Steven Joyce, NZ's minister for Communications said yesterday at the 10th New Zealand Telecommunications and ICT Summit in Auckland.

The government had planned to make announcements on its broadband plan by mid-June based on industry submissions on how it should structure its national fibre network. The NZ Government has set aside $1.5 billion for its investment in crown fibre, which it hopes will be matched by the private sector.

It's now hoping to resolve the question over whether local fibre companies (LFCs), which are being asked to provide open access, should also offer retail services such as broadband, voice, digital television or smart metering.

The government also faced criticism over its $48 million investment in delivering broadband to rural areas, which Labor's Communications spokesperson Clare Curran said at the conference was "paltry". She said the government should invest around $500 million in regional areas if the figure was to equally reflect the 25 per cent its rural population represents.

Joyce said wireless technologies could play a role in delivering rural broadband services. He also said the government was considering aggregated procurement of services over direct subsidies to counter the risk of slack demand for broadband services.

Labor's Clare likened NZ's commitment of $1.5 billion to Australia's initial $4.7 billion NBN proposal. "The Australian Government has put a figure of $43 billion, because they know that's around what it will cost," she said. "They were advised it would not provide value for money to the Commonwealth."

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