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Why Is The Government Moving Ultra-Slow On Broadband?

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Clare Curran
Clare Curran

Government delays in announcing how and when it will roll out ultra-fast broadband to 75% of New Zealand is damaging the information communications industry, Labour spokesperson on communications and IT Clare Curran said today.

"It's time the government told the public its plans. The ICT industry has been in limbo since the election," Clare Curran said.

"The industry has been waiting for 9 months to hear how the government plans to spend $1.5 billion to roll out ultra-fast broadband to three quarters of Kiwi homes within 10 years.

"All we've heard is one announcement and a series of delays on which direction the government plans to move. I think it's about time New Zealanders knew what the National's plans are. After all, this was the 'think big' campaign pledge.

"National will have wasted a year before its project will get off the ground. "It's a mystery to all the industry players I've spoken to as to why the government is taking so long. If there are significant problems in devising a workable scheme then it's time Communications Minister Stephen Joyce showed some transparency and told the public what's going on.

"In the meantime many broadband projects planned for regional areas are either on hold, or continuing in a diminished way. I have heard countless reports of investment drying up in projects that could have gone ahead. "I note Telstra Clear is considering ploughing ahead with its own plans to roll out ultrafast broadband in Wellington and Christchurch, independently of the government initiative.

"Meanwhile Telecom has changed its contracting setup to create employment arrangements which strip away basic rights. The new setup leaves all power and control with Telecom and its contractors. This is already creating a destabilising effect on the telecommunications industry.

"Steven Joyce doesn't strike me as a ditherer. He keeps saying 'we must get it right' but he seems to be having difficulty making up his mind. 'The ICT industry needs certainty going forward. It's time this government showed some leadership on broadband, made a decision and told the public why it's taken so long," Clare Curran said.

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