Telecom NZ’s (ASX:TEL) Chorus division has kicked of construction of the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative following its contract win in May to deploy fibre in 24 of the 33 candidate areas.
The telco was finally selected by the company overseeing the rollout of the New Zealand National Broadband Network (NBN) equivalent, Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH), to take part in the project following months of negotiations.
To date, fibre optic cables have been deployed to Albany in Auckland, with more work scheduled to begin in Ashburton, Blenheim, Dunedin, Masterton, Napier-Hastings, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Taupo and Wellington by December.
Chorus will deploy and operate the network build to 69.4 per cent of the network’s coverage, with Enable Networks, Northpower Limited and Ultrafast Fibre Limited to cover the remaining 30.6 per cent, by 2019. Initial rollout will focus on connecting schools, businesses and health premises.
Newly appointed Chorus chief executive, Mark Ratcliffe, said the network will reach 43,000 homes and businesses across the country and deliver 200 schools a fibre connection by July 2012.
“CFH is pleased with progress to date, with deployment of UFB fibre now underway in five cities, including New Zealand’s largest,” CFH chief executive, Graham Mitchell, said in a statement.
“We are on track towards 75 percent of New Zealanders having fibre to their door by the end of 2019.”
Under Telecom NZ’s agreement with CFH, the fibre deployment will enable customers to connect to UFB services prior to the structural separation of Chorus from Telecom NZ, which is hinged on shareholder approval later this year.
The separation previously experienced delays with Telecom NZ chief executive, Paul Reynolds revealing that due to lengthy delays in the negations for the UFB project the demerger would not meet its initial June deadline.
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