Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout ahead of schedule

New Zealand's communications minister has said that the adoption of fibre broadband is accelerating, but progress lags in major cities.

New Zealand's government-sponsored rollout of fibre broadband was 43 percent complete by December 2014, 7 percent ahead of schedule, a progress report released on Thursday said.

Meanwhile, national use of the network reached 11.3 percent.

Adoption appears to have surged in the last quarter of 2014, according to figures released by Communications Minister Amy Adams. Connected users increased by 26 percent from 55,010 to 69,301.

The Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network was available to 570,000 homes or workplaces by December.

However, progress in New Zealand's biggest cities is slower, with just 27 percent of the Auckland rollout complete, and 29 percent in Wellington.

Adams said 2,285 schools have fibre now, and the rollout to the rest is due to be complete over the coming year.

Running in parallel to the UFB project, the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) is also progressing. Two thirds of the new towers required for the RBI have been delivered by the government's partner, Vodafone, while three quarters of the tower upgrades required are complete.