24 Jun 2009

Release of ultra-fast broadband strategy delayed

5:29 am on 24 June 2009

The Government is delaying the release of its strategy for a $1.5 billion investment in ultra-fast broadband.

Its blueprint for rolling out broadband to 75% of New Zealanders was due for release next week.

However, Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce told a telecommunications summit in Auckland on Tuesday the announcement will be delayed by up to two months.

Mr Joyce says the Government received 104 submissions on the scheme, which need to be carefully considered. Concerns had been raised over which areas would be covered by the investment.

Mr Joyce said there will be some degree of flexibility around the urban rollout, with rural areas being covered by a separate strategy.

Chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association Ernie Newman says a delay so early in the process is concerning.

Mr Newman says some companies may be reluctant to continue their broadband investment programmes because of the uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Mr Joyce is not ruling out calls by Telecom and Vodafone for a single, national network, rather than a regional model proposed by the Government.