Regional Fibre Group ready for roll-out

The New Zealand Regional Fibre Group (NZRFG) can meet the government’s objectives in the ultra-fast broadband initiative, it announced today.

The 19-strong group submitted a number of closely aligned proposals for consideration under the government’s $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband initiative today.

The group says it can deliver an exceptional fibre to the door broadband solution. The group is looking to partner with the Government to create extensive ultra-fast fibre broadband networks around the country and hopes to begin work on the project this year.

NZRFG bids cover approximately 80% of the country. The group is proposing to extend beyond the 33 main centres the government has highlighted as priorities for ultra-fast fibre broadband.

The consortium proposals are from Waikato-based WEL Networks (the combination of WEL, Waipa and Velocity Networks and Hamilton Fibre Network).

Including the Otago and Southland joint venture partnership of Flute Network (Dunedin and Central Otago’s Aurora Energy, along with Southland’s Electricity Invercargill and The Power Company).

Aurora Energy and the management company representing the other two Flute partners, PowerNet, are NZRFG members.

However, all other South Island NZRFG members - Enable Networks, Network Tasman, Electricity Ashburton, Alpine Energy, Network Waitaki and Westpower – have expressed openness in working together to provide the best fibre solution for the Government.

NZRFG founding member Vector hopes to secure the Auckland region contract. It confirmed to NBR today that it was the best option for Auckland. Northpower has also submitted a bid for the Northland region.

Meantime, the North Island trio of Unison, Horizon Energy and Eastland Group have all expressed interest in rolling out the initiative across their geographic areas and are exploring ways to work together to provide a more efficient and effective deployment.

CityLink and Electra have pitched further proposals to establish fibre networks in the Government’s preferred candidate areas in the lower North Island.

The government has highlighted dozens of towns and cities from Whangarei to Invercargill as priority areas in which to establish fibre networks and they include the likes of Wellington, Masterton, Kapiti and Horowhenua.

Communications Minister Steven Joyce wants 75% of New Zealanders to have access to fibre to the door within 10 years. He is also planning to front with $300 million to ensure fibre spread into rural New Zealand.

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