Broadband rollout 'sluggish' - Labour

JASON WALLS
Last updated 12:00 11/08/2014

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The rollout of ultra-fast broadband in the Manawatu/Whanganui region is halfway to its goal, but Labour says the Government is pulling the wool over New Zealanders' eyes.

The Government has released its quarterly report on the progress of ultra-fast and rural broadband, and says the process is ahead of schedule.

The report showed more than 96,000 New Zealanders have gained access to fibre during the past three months and more than 40 remote and rural schools now have broadband four times faster than their previous services.

It shows the Manawatu/Whanganui region has completed 50 per cent of the installation work.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams said the Government was delivering world-class connectivity. "Faster broadband internet and fibre connectivity are absolutely key to New Zealand's future prosperity and our ability to participate in the global economy."

She said the broadband programme was estimated to deliver GDP growth of $5.5 billion over 20 years as well as $33b of economic benefits to New Zealand end users of high-speed broadband applications.

Labour's communications spokeswoman Clare Curran told the Manawatu Standard the rollout of the ultra-fast broadband had been "sluggish".

She said the Government's target was to connect 1,340,000 households and only 39,510 had actually connected, less than 3 per cent.

"International Telecommunications Union data published last year has New Zealand ranked 64th in the world on affordability of fixed broadband prices, a drop from the previous year's report where New Zealand was ranked 41st," Curran said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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