Key industry players say the Government's broadband strategy lacks vision and will not maximise the potential of the new ultra-fast network.
Negotiations are under way to decide who will build the Government's fibre network, which hopes to provide browsing and download speeds upwards of 100 megabits per second - more than 10 times faster than current rates.
Successful applicants will join with the Government to lay fibre cables throughout 75 per cent of the country over the next 10 years.
Fibre provides far more speed and capacity than the copper wires many businesses and homes use to access the internet.
IDC's telecommunications analyst Rosalie Nelson said one of the biggest problems with the scheme was the lack of clarity of what the Government wants it to accomplish.
"We felt the principles of 'what are our objectives and what we want to achieve' [were never established]. We never went through that process. [National] had it as an election promise and then three months after they got into Government they came up with a plan," Nelson said.
"The economic or social objectives were never fully defined. [Discussions centred] around 'how do we make this to be a quasi-commercial business case that will attract a public-private partnership because we only want to put $1.5 billion in?"' she said.
The Government has put $1.5 billion forward for the scheme and those awarded its tender will make up the shortfall.
Rod Drury from Pacific Fibre, the company building New Zealand's second international broadband link, said the competitive nature of the tendering process was blocking "bigger picture" thinking.
"[In the tendering process] it's difficult for everyone to have the sort of conversations that need to be happening. I think the bigger picture people are feeling a bit frustrated, that there's definitely good intentions but we're not putting the quality of thought into the national architecture," he said.
Drury said questions around the type of services fibre users will be able to access needed answering.
"One of the big issues is getting the demand side working because we've got to make it so consumers feel compelled to spend $100 a month or potentially more on broadband and that means there's big issues around if you keep your Sky television through there. What about other content sources, can you buy Apple iSource movies [on fibre]?" he asked.
Microsoft New Zealand's national technology officer Marc Rees said more thought needed to go into how New Zealand would use the network, rather than just on who will build it.
"I think we've become fixated on the soap-opera of who is going to provide [fibre]. It's a failure in dialogue and conversation," Rees said. "There needs to be more analysis on where this scheme is going."
Although industry and consumer groups must enter this discussion, Rees said the Government also had a role to play.
"The Government is putting a lot of money into it, it would make sense for it to stimulate business to use the [fibre] network. There's an opportunity to come up with a plan that maximises the network."
Despite scepticism, Communications Minister Stephen Joyce was resolute that New Zealand is well on track to take full advantage of the network.
He said 80-82 per cent of businesses in a Crown Fibre Holdings and TUANZ survey indicated they would connect to fibre within a year of service and that service providers, like Telecom and Vodafone, were keen to connect.
He also said that Government IT services, hospitals and schools would all be hooked into the network and that Sky TV was interested in exploring the possibilities of fibre.
While the Government remains focused on getting fibre in the ground, New Zealand Information Communications and Technology group head Brett O'Riley said the availability of services would be the determining factor in the network's success.
"It's only the services that operate off the [fibre] infrastructure that determine how well it's utilised," O'Riley said.
He said NZICT was interested in talking with state-owned Crown Fibre Holdings to create a "collective vision" of where fibre could take New Zealand.