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Govt Confident Of Reaching Broadband Goal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 29 NZPA - The Government says it expects to be able to meet its goal of connecting homes to ultra-fast broadband, despite Labour producing a report which says it would cost much more than original estimates.

The Government's campaign pledge was to put up $1.5 billion, ask the private sector to match it, and connect 75 percent of homes within six years.

Business think tank the New Zealand Institute said last month it believed the private sector would at least match the $1.5b.

In Parliament today Labour's communications spokeswoman Clare Curran cited a report written for the Treasury which said the cost would be between $5.3b and $10.4b.

She said its author, Murray Milner, was a former Telecom chief technology officer and a respected consultant.

"This means the National Government simply cannot fulfil its election promise to spend $1.5 billion to achieve this goal," Ms Curran said.

"The report...says that $1.5 billion would not be sufficient to connect 75 percent of homes even if matching investment from the private sector was forthcoming."

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the report signalled a wide range of costs which varied considerably depending on the technology used and the level of take-up.

"The figures quoted (by Ms Curran) are at the extreme end of the range, the report also quotes much lower figures," he said.

"With the level of co-investment from the private sector that the Government expects, and an appropriate level of use of existing fibre-optic structure, we believe we will get most, if not all, of the way to our goal."

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