UFB connection numbers rise

And Amy Adams makes a slightly suspect comparison with Singapore.

Communications Minister Amy Adams says the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) fibre rollout now has “100,000 connected customers”.

The designated 100,000th customer was outdoor media provider Go Media, which hooked up to Enable’s network in Christchurch (and, yes, it was ironic it was an ad-related company, given the Government, UFB companies’ and ISP’s aversion to spending anything to promote the UFB.

A couple of weeks back, Ms Adams said UFB fibre has now been rolled past 618,000 premises. The next official tally will arrive in three weeks, but assuming it’s close to that number, then around 16% of customers within reach of UFB fibre are now choosing to connect (Ms Adams’ broad-strokes comment at the 100K event was 1 in 7, which works out to just over 14%). Either way it’s a jump on the 12% connection rate at the end of December (when 69,301 or 12.15% of 570,221 premises were connected).

“For international comparison, in late 2010, when Singapore was 50% complete, uptake was very low at around 2%. As of 31 March 2015, uptake in New Zealand was 13.8%,” Ms Adams said.

Yeah, maybe so, but Singapore’s equivalent to the UFB was rolled out in three years flat, as you might expect in the higher-efficient city state, where the population is crammed into a tiny area and no apartment owner was about to lodge an objection against the government-owned company that carried out the project. When it was half way through, many people would still have been on 12 or 24-month contracts. Within four years, uptake was at 50%.

Why has uptake been so slow here?: NBR has three reasons.

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