John Key MP
National Party Leader
22 April 2008
Key announces broadband network investment
National Party Leader John Key today announced a National Government will invest up to $1.5 billion to drive the roll-out of a “fibre to the home” ultra-fast broadband network in New Zealand.
“This investment will help deliver the economic step change that New Zealand needs to significantly lift average incomes over time. It will truly future-proof New Zealand.
“National’s medium to long-term vision is for a fibre connection to almost every home, supported by satellite and mobile solutions where it makes sense.
“Our initial goal is to ensure the accelerated roll out of fibre right to the home of 75% of New Zealanders. In the first six years, priority will be given to business premises, schools, health facilities, and the first tranche of homes.
“We also want to significantly enhance broadband access and speeds for household and premises where fibre to the home is not immediately feasible.
“National will also take additional steps to accelerate high speed broadband roll-out to rural and remote areas, with the first step being to double the Broadband Challenge Fund to $48m and refocus it on rural and remote areas.
“National will work with the telecommunications industry to achieve these goals.
“The investment will be made alongside additional private sector investment and will be subject to a series of five principles: The network being open-access, ensuring the investment does not see already-planned investments cut back, ensuring increased broadband services, and making sure we do not end up lining the pockets of incumbent industry players.
“National intends to conduct negotiations on a carefully thought-through investment and regulatory model in its first year in government,” says Mr Key. “We will then ask interested parties to tender for roll-out of fibre and we will also work with local government to ensure it is doing everything it can to facilitate that.
“Fibre technology to the home, business, school, or hospital will offer download and upload speeds many, many times faster than most Kiwis have ever experienced.
“National’s fibre-to-the-home goals are an essential part of our vision for a step change in New Zealand.
“Fibre will deliver huge economic benefits for our country in terms of enhanced productivity, improved global connectivity, and enhanced capacity for innovation.
“Independent experts estimate those benefits will be worth between $2.7 billion and $4.4 billion per year.
“The possibilities of this technology are endless and the potential productivity gains huge.
“Our small size and distance from other countries make it hard for us to compete with the rest of the world. Ultra-fast broadband will help us overcome both of those things.
“New Zealand has fallen behind its global competitors when it comes to broadband. We’ve delayed the big decisions and put investment off for long enough.
“One hundred and fifty years ago the government had the vision to build railways and highways to facilitate the movement of goods.
“Today we need government to help lay out the information highways of the future.”