Huawei wins chunk of Crown fibre business, securing Ultrafast Fibre
China’s Huawei has been named a major partner for Ultrafast Fibre’s $300 million Crown fibre roll-out.
Ultrafast Fibre – a consortium led by lines company Wel Networks – won contracts covering Hamilton, Tauranga, Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Hawera, Wanganui, Te Awamutu and Cambridge in the government’s $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) project.
Huawei will supply layer 2 electronics for the rollout – the key component that “lights” dark fibre, or makes it accessible to retailers for services such as internet connection and TV delivered over the internet. The contract also includes layer 1 kit, and the fibre optic cable itself, Huawei NZ's Mark Champion told NBR.
Ultrafast Fibre’s build – already underway in Hamilton and Tauranga – is scheduled to take five years and pass 163,000 premises, chief executive Julian Elder told NBR (Mr Elder also serves as CEO of Wel).
Ultrafast earlier said that Australia's Transfield (also one of Chorus' three field contractors) had won the engineering side of its tender.
Mr Elder said the value of Transfield's conract was up to $202 million, depending on how many customers want to connect (although fibre will be run passed all premises in half a decade, it's anticipated some customers won't take accounts - and be connected from the curb - until the following five years).
The CEO wouldn't put a dollar value on the Huawei contract, which he said was predominantly for materials.
Mr Elder said the roll-out's total budget was around $300 million over the next 10 years (which includes funds from state-owned Crown Fibre Holdings that, as with all four UFB contracts, will eventually be bought out as the roll-out morphs from a public-private to a fully private project).
Last year - fresh from the Shanghai World Expo - Prime Minister John Key trumpeted Huawei's protential as a Crown fibre supplier.
No players around the UFB have revealed the project’s list of preferred suppliers.
But earlier, Chorus said it had picked Ericsson to supply fibre and that Alcatel Lucent was in the running to supply its layer 2 electronics.
NBR understands Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent were in the running for Ultrafast Fibre’s central North Island contract.
Huawei has around 70 staff in New Zealand.
The Chinese company is best known locally for being 2degrees’ primary network infrastructure partner and Vodafone’s supplier of DSL switching gear for what Vodafone calls its Red Network (landline broadband in areas where Vodafone has moved its own gear into Telecom exchanges).
Huawei Marine (a joint venture between Huawei and UK company Global Marine Systems), recently partnered with Axin (a subsidiary of China Telecom) on a plan to lay a transtasman cable.