Small townships such as Alexandra and Cromwell could reap
the rewards of ultrafast broadband under a National Party
proposal to put up to $210 million towards extending the
Prime Minister John Key made the announcement today during a
visit to the Waikato Institute of Technology.
Currently the ultrafast broadband (UFB) roll-out aims to
connect 75 per cent of all New Zealanders by the end of 2019.
Today's proposal would push that commitment to 80 per cent,
which would reach an extra 200,000 New Zealanders, at a cost
of up to $210 million.
"It's the most ambitious communications infrastructure
programme in the world, given our low population density,''
Mr Key said.
Last week Mr Key announced a $150 million plan to extend
rural broadband to sparsely populated areas.
"Together with today's announcement, this means almost every
New Zealander will be able to access fast, reliable internet
National's ICT spokeswoman Amy Adams said the extra towns to
be included would be the result of a competitive bid process,
taking into account the cost of deployment, strength of
consumer demand, and regulatory and other assistance from
"This could see a number of towns be strong contenders for
inclusion in the UFB extension, including: Te Puke, Motueka,
Morrinsville, Kerikeri, Huntly, Thames, Matamata, Otaki,
Kawerau, Waitara, Kaitaia, Dannevirke, Alexandra, Stratford,
Whitianga, Cromwell, Taumarunui, Picton, Foxton, Kaikohe,
Marton, Te Kuiti, Katikati, Temuka, Waihi, Waipukurau,
Warkworth, Carterton, Dargaville, Opotiki, Snells Beach, Te
Aroha, Wairoa, Paeroa and Westport.''
She said there would be a competitive tender process for
companies to build the extra network, and Northpower had
already put its hand up.
She said the current programme was ahead of schedule and
nearly 40 per cent complete, rolling out across 33 towns and
"We have reached the stage where it's in reach of half a
million premises across New Zealand. That means over a
million New Zealanders are already within reach of the UFB
Reliable, fast internet has the potential to drive
innovation, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.
The funding is coming out of the Government's Future
Investment Fund (FIF), which sprung from the partial sale of
Mr Key said the FIF was "certainly down to its last