Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce today released the details of the government's $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband investment initiative.

"Access to ultra-fast broadband is part of the essential infrastructure of a productive and growing economy and will be crucial to New Zealand improving its competitive advantage in the global market.

"The future of broadband is in fibre, and taking it right to the home will bring significant gains for productivity, innovation and global reach.

"The government is committed to partnering with the private sector to accelerate the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband services to 75 per cent of New Zealanders within the next ten years", he said.

Key highlights of the proposal include:

• An open, transparent partner selection process, which will
be initiated in the next month.

• Government investment directed to an open access,
wholesale-only, passive fibre network infrastructure.

• A new Crown-owned investment company ("Crown Fibre Holdings"), which will be operational by October, to carry out the government's partner selection process and manage the government's investment in fibre networks.

• Crown Fibre Holdings and each partner establishing a
commercial vehicle, a "Local Fibre Company" (LFC), to deploy fibre network infrastructure and provide access to dark fibre products and, optionally, certain active wholesale Layer 2 services.

• Provision for national and regionally-focused proposals, as
well as consortium and proposals aggregating any combination of LFC
regions.

• Independence, equivalence and transparency requirements for
LFCs.

• Expansion to 33 candidate coverage areas based on the
largest urban areas (by population in 2021).

Mr Joyce says a lot of work has gone into getting the approach right for the government to co-invest with the private sector in broadband infrastructure.

"Already a number of companies have shown interest in the government's broadband initiative. Now it's time to get on with finding the right partners to build these networks."