Wellington's manufacturing industry will be given a shot in the arm by a $15 million factory that will create 30 jobs making plastic ducting for the ultrafast and rural broadband networks.
Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson plans to open the 10,000 square metre factory in the second half of this year. The site is a former Mitsubishi car plant at Todd Park in Porirua.
Ericsson country manager Alfred Ling said most of the vacancies would be for engineers, but some labourers would be needed.
The ultrafast and rural broadband networks are due to be completed by 2019, but Ericsson Cables vice-president Christian Kimell said the factory was Ericsson's first such facility outside Sweden and could have a longer term future exporting ducting to Australia and other countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Chorus, which has a contract to build 70 per cent of the ultrafast broadband (UFB) network, would be the factory's main customer.
Chorus chief executive Mark Ratcliffe said it was reviewing how much of the network it would bury in underground ducts and how much it would string overhead on power poles. But he said any change would be "at the margin" and burying fibre was the only option in many areas.
Communications Minister Amy Adams said she expected about 2000 people to be involved in the construction of the UFB network. Ratcliffe said it was arguable those people would have been deployed elsewhere without the network, but the 30 jobs at Ericsson's factory would be "genuine new jobs".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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