New Zealand passes bill to begin ultra-fast broadband era

A bill has been passed in New Zealand moving the country a step closer to the roll-out of an ultra-fast broadband network.

The Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband, and Other Matters) Amendment Bill will finally become law on 1 July, and will enable the government to make progress on a 2008 election promise to deliver 100Mbs speeds to 75 per cent of the country by 2019.

The network will be built out by Chorus, which was required to split from its parent TCNZ to win the deal. Chorus will now receive $929m of taxpayer funds to build and manage 70 per cent of the fibre based network.

“The passing of this Bill today marks the end of the beginning of a new era of world-class broadband infrastructure for New Zealand, and the delivery of the Government’s broadband investment commitments,” communications and information technology minister Steven Joyce said in a statement.

New Zealand’s Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative will deliver fibre connectivity to schools, hospitals and 90 per cent of businesses by 2015, and to three-quarters of all New Zealanders by 2020. Those outside of the UFB initiative can expect to connect at speeds of at least 5Mbps, encompassing 97 per cent of all households.

Earlier this week Telstra and SingTel announced that they had signed a major deal with Austrialia’s National Broadband Network to deliver a national fibre broadband network for the Antipodean country.

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