UFB uptake jumps 42%
ICT Minister Amy Adams latest UFB uptake report says 320,000 end users now have access to Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) fibre - and increase of 21,000 in the three months to September 30.
The number who have chosen to actually subscribe to a UFB plan rose from just under 10,000 to more than 14,000 during the period.
That means UFB uptake has increased from a miserable 3% of those who have fibre within reach to a slightly-less-miserable 4%.
Ms Adams says the numbers are as the government and Crown Fibre Holdings expected at this point in the 10-year rollout.
The minister says in addition, under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), more 137,000 rural homes and businesses now have access to fast wireless broadband, and about 56,000 rural homes and businesses have access to improved copper broadband services. Actual connection numbers haven't been given in any of the minister's quarterly reports.
The September quarter captures a period of increased UFB-related marketing by Telecom (which holds around 50% retail share in the ISP market), but not Vodafone's UFB launch.
Earlier, Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe told NBR "We’d all like it to be faster."
"I suspect we’ll see the competitive dynamic changing a bit when Vodafone’s in the market. When you’ve got the big two retailers going head-to-head, competition drives greater demand.
Chorus is responsible for around 70% of the UFB rollout by premise.
Vodafone's UFB launch - which began October 4 - will be captured in Ms Adams next quarterly report.
Another problem identified by Mr Ratcliffe remains, however. People living down a right-of-way, or in an apartment building, face up to months of delays while Chorus locates then seeks permission from all owners involved. The Chorus CEO wants the government to amend the RMA to make UFB a designated service, meaning it could lay fibre up a right-of-way or into a multi-tenanted building straight away.
Questions also linger over what will happen once Chorus' $20 million free connection kitty runs out around the end of 2015, and where the independent inquiry into Chorus' finances and UFB capability commissioned by Ms Adams will lead.
RAW DATA: Quarterly Broadband Deployment Report (PDF)