Adams pushes Telework Week to raise UFB awareness

The Great New Zealand Public, which has so far shown little enthusiasm for fibre laid under the $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout, is about to get a nudge.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has announced the inaugural Telework Week, which will run from 12-16 November.

“The aim is for businesses to learn more about telework and consider how it might benefit them and their employees. It is timely for businesses to think about telework and the options an ultra-fast broadband workplace provides,” Ms Adams says.

The initiative is led by Cisco, in partnership with Crown Fibre Holdings, Vodafone, Datacom and NZICT, is being held in conjunction with Telework Week in Australia.

It will result in a week of government-sanctioned loafing, of a new era of employee flexibility and less clogged roads, depending on your point of view.

Earlier, Orcon CEO Scott Bartlett called on the government to run a campaign to raise UFB awareness. His wish seems to have been answered, at least on a modest level.

Put the broader problem remains limited availability.

Last month Chorus, which is handling the lion's share of the rollout, said UFB fibre now passed 42,000 homes, with another 5000 in progress - but only 200 premises had been hooked up.

Chorus boss Mark Ratcliffe told NBR the slow uptake was no surprise. It was early days in the project, and the three largest ISPs, Telecom, Vodafone and TelstraClear had yet to launch any fibre plans (Telecom recently told NBR it would not do so until the New Year).

In turn, ISPs are looking for clarity on whether Chorus' free connection offer will last beyond the end of this year. They fear householders, already showing little interest in the UFB, will be turned off altogether if they have to pay $1000+ up front to get fibre connected from the kerb to their home.

Mr Ratcliffe said his company was still in discussions with Crown Fibre Holdings on that point.

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