8 Dec 2010

Broadband plans criticised

9:36 am on 8 December 2010

A telecommunications analyst says the Government's plans to build an ultra-fast broadband network don't appear to have been thought through.

The first two contracts to roll out an ultra fast broadband network have been awarded to energy network companies.

Northpower, and a second firm Ultra Fast Fibre which is owned by Waikato-based WEL Networks, have signed deals with Crown Fibre Holdings to lay fibre in Whangarei, and Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth and Whanganui, covering 16% of the targeted population.

Independent telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, says he finds it confusing the Government is not involving Telecom, which has existing assets, on a national scale.

He says there is a possibility of a competing network with the UFB which is unacceptable in a country the size of New Zealand.

Telecom says it's still in the game for the other regions, particularly the crucial Auckland province, and it remains interested in partnerships with energy network firms, including Northpower and Ultra Fast Fibre.

Paul Budde says having the contracts split into regions will result in conflict between the broadband network providers.

He says the Government's does not appear to have thought through what the network will be used for and how much it will cost consumers.

Communication Minister Steven Joyce says preferred bidders to rollout a fibre network in the remaining 25 regions will be announced soon.