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Hamilton Fibre Players Ready At The Starting Line

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hamilton Fibre Players Ready At The Starting Line

13 FEBRUARY 2009 - In a joint statement released today, Blair Bowcott, Chairman of Hamilton Fibre Network Ltd (HFN) and John O'Donoghue, Managing Director of Velocity Networks Ltd, said that HFN and its Network Operator, Velocity Networks Ltd supports the Government's decision to withdraw the BIF funding model and Digital Development Council in order to work directly with those parties involved in the network business.

``As the Minister states, this is too important to get wrong and the opportunity to work with aligned industry parties will enable us to deliver a better long term solution for Hamilton and the Waikato as well as providing access to the larger pool of funding signalled by the new government'', says Bowcott.

HFN believes that the BIF funding model favoured more isolated urban networks without focusing on an interconnected national solution. It was complicated and only provided a small portion of the funding required to make a real difference. It appears the National Government is now addressing these shortfalls with its approach of providing more funding and consulting directly with industry players.

HFN was the recipient of a $3.3m grant under the previous Government, which together with existing fibre optic network and cash contributions from the venture partners, has been used to construct a new fibre optic network covering 45 kilometers around Hamilton City. The network is operated by Velocity Networks. HFN was also one of the few urban fibre network applicants to submit a full BIF application capable of immediate implementation, rather than a preliminary Expression of Interest requiring further development.

``The detailed planning we completed in that funding application puts us in a strong position to move positively and quickly'', says Bowcott. ``The Government and industry generally agree that a Public Private Partnership or PPP is the ideal model to move ahead with. This type of initiative and our existing structure has always been based on this approach'', he adds.

``As the network operator, Velocity is continually surprised at just what our existing customers and service providers have been able to achieve when technical and commercial obstacles to broadband access are broken down'', says Shane Hobson, Business Development Manager of Velocity Networks.

Velocity's network passes thousands of addresses and has numerous customers representing a broad range of markets including major corporates, small and medium businesses, health, education, local government and other utility network operators.

Velocity's plans include a gigabit-capable Ethernet loop for Hamilton schools that will be superior in both speed and quality to the copper or wireless solutions offered by other providers. With a planned ongoing cost of zero for schools it will give them access to the required network speeds to make a real difference in education.

Work on the schools loop has already started with the fibre network being extended into Whitiora Primary School and Hamilton East Primary School. This has enabled them to collaborate across the network in real time with Southwell School and Hamilton Girls High School. Connections to other schools will be dependent upon further funding being raised from local private sources or Government.

``As the private party in the Hamilton venture we intend to remain actively involved as we continue to develop our network for local requirements, whilst ensuring it is a seamless part of a nationwide solution'', concludes O'Donoghue. ``We look forward to active engagement with the Government and co-operative industry players in the near future''.

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