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Communications minister David Cunliffe has promised that New Zealand will rank among the top half of OECD countries for broadband uptake, speed and coverage within two years.

The undertaking is one of several new targets announced today with the launch of the government's updated digital blueprint, Digital Strategy 2.0.

The minister has also promised that by 2012, 80 per cent of internet users will experience connection speeds of 20Mbps or higher, while 90 per cent of the country will have 10Mbps.

By that same date open-access fibre networks will be operating in at least 15 cities and towns, and up to 97 per cent of New Zealanders will have terrestrial broadband, either via a physical link or by satellite coverage in remote areas. The remaining 3 per cent will have access to 1Mbps connections. Finally by 2012, the government has promised another international cable will be in place. MessageLabs

Further out, the minister says 90 per cent of homes will have connections of 20Mbps or higher by 2018, while 80 per cent of connections will be via fibre or an equivalent high-bandwidth technology.

Cunliffe says there are plans to eventually increase connection speeds to 100Mbps.

The government has also undertaken to accelerate the national rollout of the Aotearoa People's Network to provide free digital connections via hubs in schools, libraries and marae for all communities. This will reach 130 libraries and 10 marae by 2010 and the project has been allocated a further $2 million to help it achieve the goal.

Never one to shy from political point scoring in an election year, Cunliffe slammed National's broadband strategy as anti-competitive. "National's answer is to end the competitive model," he said.

National's plans of creating a central fibre fund without a regulatory framework is a recipe for undermining competition, Cunliffe stated, adding that it was ironic National - the traditional champion of the free market - was instead promoting a system less open or competitive as Labour's.

He underscored this claim by stating that from now on all government-funded internet infrastructure will be open access. "I want to harness the market for the public good," he said.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Ken Lewis

Quelle/Source: IT Brief, 28.08.2008

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