$1b Provincial Growth Fund can be tapped for broadband: Curran

Communications Minister Clare Curran says the accelerated timetable comes at no cost to the Crown.

Work on the Rural Broadband Initiative II and Mobile Blackspot projects will be finished by the end of 2021, a year ahead of the target date, Communications Minister Clare Curran says.

The minister says areas still not covered by broadband at the end of RBI II will be able to apply for assistance from Shane Jones’ $1 billion Provincial Growth Fund.

The National Broadband Map, which includes an address checker, has been updated to include RBI II.

MBIE says 87% of the population should be covered for ultrafast broadband once the RBI II and UFB II rollouts are complete.

Ms Curran says the early wrap-up for RBI II will come at no extra cost to the Crown.

The previous government allocated $150m for RBI II and the Mobile Blackspot fund.

Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees won the RBI II contract with a joint bid under the banner of the Rural Connectivity Group.

2degrees did not immediately respond to NBR’s query but reps for Spark and Vodafone said there would be no extra costs involved with the accelerated RBI II/Mobile Blackspot timetable.

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