26 January 2017
Prime Minister Bill English and Communications Minister Simon Bridges today announced Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) will be extended to more than 151 additional towns, including Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell and Roxburgh.
The extension programme will provide up to 85 per cent of New Zealanders with access to fibre by the end of 2024.
"Regional connectivity is critical to our economy and to New Zealand's future," said Mr Bridges. "Rolling out faster, more reliable internet is a vital part of our plan in developing a productive and competitive economy, improving health and educational outcomes and creating more jobs for Kiwis and their families," said Mr Bridges.
The first phase of the Government's UFB programme is ahead of schedule in delivering fibre to the premises of 75 per cent of New Zealanders by 2019.
The second phase of UFB installations will start this year and be completed between 2018 and 2024. Phase two of the build will see each build area be completed within a 12-month period in order to provide as little disruption as possible.
The roll-out timetable indicates Cromwell's is forecast completion date is the second half of 2018; Alexandra is the second half of 2020, Clyde is programme for the first half of 2023 and Roxburgh the first half of 2024.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan welcomed the news.
"It's extraordinarily good news for Cromwell and still good news for Alexandra, Clyde and Roxburgh, although the wait is going to be much longer." Mr Cadogan said.
"The role for myself and Council now will be to explore if the early arrival of fibre to Cromwell can be used in some way to get better connectivity to the other towns in the interim."
Mr Cadogan added that it was "disappointing" that Council's bid was not met in full. "While Roxburgh has got the nod (albeit not until the start of
2024), discussions will have to be held as to what Ranfurly and the wider
Maniototo can do to progress the internet speeds in that area.”
Further information is available at www.broadband.govt.nz.