Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Zealand - Mayor of Wellington calls for ultrafast broadband to ensure economic growth of the city

[wellington] Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is working with Central Government to bring the huge benefits of ultrafast broadband to Wellington.

Communications Minister Steven Joyce has announced that the Government has selected partners to lay fibre-optic cable to homes and businesses in nine cities and towns in the North Island - the first tranche of a $1.5 billion ultrafast broadband (UFB) investment.

Mayor Wade-Brown has already had conversations with the Minister about the importance of UFB for Wellington and said she was looking forward to continuing to work with the Government in the issue.

She said: "UFB is a must. The potential benefits to the Wellington region are huge - calculated at between $400 million and $650 million a year.

"The issues are more complicated in the big cities than the smaller centres so I am looking forward to discussing with Crown Fibre Holdings how we and our regional partners can make sure Wellington's interests can be met."

The Government, in partnership with the private sector, aims to roll out infrastructure which will bring UFB access to 75 per cent of New Zealanders over in 10 years, concentrating in the first six on priority users such as businesses, schools and health services.

Wellington City Council is a key member of the regional Broadband Operating Group, which represents the Wellington region's nine councils.

Mayor Wade-Brown said the Wellington region is home to 52,179 businesses - more than 10 percent of all New Zealand businesses - with business growth faster than for New Zealand as a whole.

She said: "Wellington was the first major New Zealand city to deploy fibre, work begun by Wellington City Council staff. The innovative use of technology is the cornerstone of our region and is a critical ingredient in our tourism, film, creative, education, health and governmental sectors. It will also greatly benefit education and social connection.

"We have a large, young, highly skilled and globally connected population which would guarantee high take-up."

In October a report from Business and Economic Research Ltd found that early roll-out in Wellington urban areas would add 11 percent to the region's GDP by 2026. The impact of the nationwide roll-out on New Zealand's overall GDP was found to be 8.9 percent.

Ultrafast Broadband 'a must' for Wellington

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