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Govt allocates funding for UFB, decision soon


Thursday 19th May 2011

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The Government will announce who will rollout ultrafast broadband (UFB) initiative "shortly", Finance Minister Bill English says.

"The end is in sight but it has been a long road," English told journalists in today's budget lockup.

Telecom has been selected for prioritised negotiations for 25 areas of the UFB initiative and has been awaiting the decision it is prepared to separate its network arm off for. Other companies, including Vector Ltd, and consortiums of companies are also in prioritised negotiations.

The government budget released today provided nearly $1 billion for the UFB and rural broadband initiatives, which the Government regards as key drivers of growth. The funding is additional to previous appropriations.

Crown Fibre Holdings has been established to manage the Government's investment UFB infrastructure.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce said Crown Fibre Holdings now had access to the full $1.4b allocated to the UFB initiative.

The funding allowed Crown Fibre Holdings to enter further contracts alongside those already made.

The Government's objective is to accelerate the roll-out of UFB to 75 percent of New Zealanders over 10 years, concentrating in the first six years on priority broadband users such as businesses, schools and health services, plus green field developments and certain tranches of residential areas.

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