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UFB uptake on the up

More than 85,000 Kiwis had made the move to ultra-fast broadband by the end of March, as the UFB project gains traction.

The latest figures are a 23% increase in connected users since December 2014, and put uptake at 13.8% across New Zealand.

The latest quarterly figures for the Government’s UFB and rural broadband initiative programmes show more than 618,000 homes, workplaces and schools are now able to connect to the UFB network.

Of that figure, 48 312 were added in the three months to the end of March.

Communications Minister Amy Adams says deployment of the UFB project is ‘significantly ahead’ of build targets, with close to 46% of the infrastructure now complete.

Northland is now 100% complete for UFB deployment, with both the Bay of Plenty and Waikato 80% complete. Taranaki follows at 76%.

Auckland and Wellington sit at 30% and 34%, respectively, while Canterbury is 46% complete.

On the RBI side, more than 79% of tower upgrades have been completed.

In the last quarter almost 1.8 million unique Vodafone customers alone accessed mobile services from the 113 new towers built since the start of the programme.

An estimated 239,000 households and businesses are able to connect to fixed wireless RBI from new and upgraded towers and more than 85,000 lines have been upgraded by Chorus under the RBI to receive new or improved faster copper-based broadband.

Rollout to schools is nearing completion, with 93% of schools now ready for service.

The UFB programme recently received a positive report by Alcatel-Lucent – one of the vendor providers for the project, providing IP core networking, GPON and managed services.

The report said New Zealand has designed and executed a uniquely well-managed and cost effective, open access national broadband network.

"Better connectivity provides access to cloud based software and other benefits like high definition video streaming. This gives businesses a competitive advantage and enables students to securely share their learning with friends, teachers, and their families.

"Schools are a top priority for the Government. The programme target for schools is now 93 per cent complete with more than 2300 schools across New Zealand with high-speed broadband ready for service."