The roll out of ultra fast broadband (UFB) in Whangarei is being delayed as Northpower Fibre is having to chase absentee landlords for permission to access land.

One connection was held up for three months while the property owner was traced to China.

More than 4000 properties have connected to UFB but a number of delays were being experienced due to difficulties gaining access on right of ways.

Northpower Fibre, which was contracted to carry out UFB installations on behalf of Crown Fibre, had five to six contractors working on installations.


There were 200 people waiting to get UFB installed.

Rental properties were causing a headache as Northpower Fibre had to get consent from every property owner down a right-of-way, or every owner in a multi-unit dwelling, before laying fibre.

Graham Dawson, Northpower's general manager of networks, said it took almost three months to get permission for one rental as the property owner was located in China.

"We had to first find them and then have documents translated. It was costly."

Mr Dawson welcomed moves by Communications Minister Amy Adams to change legislation so companies like Northpower would find it easier to install fibre.

Ms Adams has released the Land Access for Telecommunications discussion document, looking for feedback on ways to reduce some of the unnecessary costs and delays with the UFB roll-out.

She said she was aware of frustrations where "someone resides down a shared driveway or in an apartment complex and requires written permission from each and every property owner in order to get ultra-fast broadband".

The discussion document looked at changing the way in which network operators sought permission in these situations. Submissions on the document close on July 24.

Mr Dawson said Northpower had connected fibre through 300 right of ways, but had 400 left to do.

"We rely on the goodwill of neighbours, but sometimes that's not possible," he said.

"For example, if you run over your neighbour's cat, there's a chance that might cause problems afterwards.

"A small number of people cannot get fibre because their neighbours won't allow access."