Controversial internet tycoon Kim Dotcom is promising free broadband for all New Zealanders, possibly alongside Trade Me founder Sam Morgan.
Dotcom yesterday tweeted: "I will relaunch Pacific Fibre. Free broadband for all Kiwi's [sic]."
Pacific Fibre was the company part-launched by Morgan in 2010 to build an ambitious 13,000 kilometre high-speed fibre-optic cable connecting New Zealand and Australia to California.
It was to have been the second such cable and would have brought competition to the market, pushing down broadband prices. But the company ceased operations in August after failing to find the required $400 million of funding.
Morgan, who was chairman of Pacific Fibre, said: "I haven't talked to him [Dotcom] but I would be happy to have a chat. I'm keen to see it happen. It is an extremely important piece of infrastructure. What we really need is a cornerstone investor with a couple of hundred million dollars."
Dotcom recently announced the relaunch his megaupload digital storage site - shut down in January by US authorities, who then persuaded New Zealand police to launch an armed raid on his mansion north of Auckland.
The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand believes Dotcom could be the money man Morgan needs to revive Pacific Fibre.
"This is exactly the sort of thing we need. Someone who is high profile internationally to get it going," said CEO Paul Brislen.
The increased broadband capacity would attract large international digital companies and give New Zealand businesses greater access to international markets.
"New Zealand needs this to help move from a primary industry economy to a digital based economy," Brislen said.
- © Fairfax NZ News