Govt touts broadband success in wake of Fry comments

British actor Stephen Fry's criticism of New Zealand's broadband does not appear to have the Government too abashed, with Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams today boasting about the "excellent progress'' made in the last three years.

At a Commerce Commission conference on the future of high-speed broadband in Auckland today, Ms Adams spoke about the importance of faster broadband and the Government's commitment to achieving it.

"Over our first term, the Government made excellent progress toward the delivery of faster broadband services,'' she said.

"We delivered on our commitment to provide $1.35 billion for ultra-fast broadband and $300 million for the rural broadband initiative.''

Ms Adams said contracts had been locked in, the rollout was under way, and competitive wholesale prices had been secured, but it was up to the industry to ensure New Zealanders got the quality and performance they expected at prices they could afford.

"Government can help but it is industry that ultimately carries responsibility for delivery of faster broadband in the marketplace in an attractive way.''

Ms Adams' comments followed comments on Twitter from Fry, who vented his frustration at the quality of New Zealand's broadband.

"Rise up, Kiwis and demand better? You wouldn't allow crap roads with pot holes and single file. [That's] what you've got [Broadband wise],'' he wrote.

Fry is in Wellington for the filming of the Peter Jackson film The Hobbit.

Telecom later adjusted the data plan for the address where Fry was staying, saying he had blown the monthly cap for the account.

After the problem was resolved, Fry returned to Twitter, still imploring Kiwis to pressure Telecom for new data plans.

"Well, seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest. It seems I exceeded a d'load limit and had my BB throttled to a crawl: @TelecomNZ have put this right. Very quick and polite. But I wonder if everyone who complains gets this attention?''

Prime Minister John Key yesterday defended the network.

"My understanding is the issue for Stephen Fry was nothing to do with the network, it was his data cap. So once that data cap was lifted he's going to get faster speeds.''

The Government has set aside $1.5 billion for ultra-fast broadband, and aims to have the service reaching 75 percent of New Zealand in the next 10 years.


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