24 Nov 2019

Ultra-fast broadband now reaches a million households

11:00 am on 24 November 2019

The Broadcasting and Communications Minister says almost 80 percent of New Zealanders now have access to high quality broadband.

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Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The first phase of the government's Ultra-Fast Broadband programme has been completed, and Kris Faafoi said it is ahead of schedule and within budget.

The programme was tendered by the government in 2009 with the aim of providing high quality broadband to 75 percent of the population by end of this year.

It was expanded in 2017 to cover 87 percent of the population. That target is expected to be met in 2022.

Mr Faafoi said the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme has been a game changer across many sectors.

"From state of the art schooling in the classroom to high speed health services both in hospitals and through mobile services in communities, UFB is adding value in New Zealanders' lives."

Ultra-fast broadband has reached more than a million households and businesses, including all urban schools and hospitals so far, Mr Faafoi said.

"The programme will also continue to support economic growth in smaller regional towns across New Zealand as people are able to operate digital businesses and access online education with exactly the same connectivity as in big cities."

The completion of the first phase of the roll-out makes New Zealand the 8th most Ultra-Fast Broadband available country in the OECD, the Minister said.

Of the $1.3 billion invested in the programme, $200 million has already been returned with a further $350 million to be returned by 2025, he added.