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InternetNZ commends National Party fibre commitment

Media Release – 22 April 2008 - InternetNZ (the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) welcomes today’s announcement by National Party Leader John Key that the National Party would invest $1.5 billion of public funds in an open access fibre-to-the-home network, if elected.

InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson says Key’s announcement
shifts the debate from whether to have fibre-to-the-home, to how and how
quickly to deploy it. “National’s vision is for fibre to almost every New Zealand home with an
initial priority to reach 75 percent coverage. The early focus on
businesses, schools and health facilities would have appreciable
economic, cultural and social benefits. This plan sets a baseline that
other parties must now match or better,” says Davidson. “Without a ubiquitous open access fibre network, New Zealand stands to
miss out on productivity gains and business opportunities, and will
suffer from an inability to communicate and collaborate at the same
level as our trading partners.” Fibre-to-the-home enables far greater data speeds, and Internet-based
applications such as telecommuting, video-conferencing and high
definition video on demand. Important in National’s announcement are principles including that any
network needs to be built on an open access basis, and avoiding crowding
out existing investment plans. InternetNZ is also encouraged by the National Party’s commitment to
accelerating broadband roll-out to rural and remote areas. The Society has maintained for some time that uptake of broadband
network and service offerings in New Zealand’s rural sector needs to be
urgently accelerated, says Davidson. “National’s plan to double the Broadband Challenge Fund to $48 million
and refocus it on rural areas would go some way in addressing the
current lack of broadband investment in rural New Zealand.” “We look forward to the policy response from Labour and the other
parties in respect of their plans for fibre-to-the-home,” says Davidson. For further information contact: Keith Davidson
Executive director
021 377 587

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