Popularity of UFB programme shown with 1 million connections and 60% uptake milestones


Crown Infrastructure Partners

6 Aug 2020

Media Statement

Popularity of UFB programme shown with 1 million connections and 60% uptake milestones

The latest Broadband Quarterly Connectivity Update to June 2020 celebrates that the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme has now connected 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to a broadband connection.

This shows that households and businesses across the country are continuing to connect to UFB at pace, with Whatawhata now at the top of the charts for uptake with 80%. Horotiu and Rolleston have 77% and 76% uptake respectively and Hamilton, Waiuku and Lincoln are all at 71% uptake.

Uptake overall is at 60% with an additional 25 towns or cities connected this quarter. There are now 194 cities and towns with UFB across New Zealand.

“This milestone demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network,” said Graham Mitchell, CEO of Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP). “This level of uptake supports the Government’s original vision for such a transformational broadband network which is becoming increasingly important during COVID lock-downs where high speed broadband connections are becoming essential.”

“Households and businesses are continuing to move to the fastest UFB plans that they can. Gigabit connections are continuing to grow, with 145,785 households and businesses now on a gigabit connection” said Mr Mitchell. “The average speed of UFB services is now 229 Mbps.”

There is more good news for rural New Zealand; under the second phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative and Mobile Black Spots Fund Programme (RBI2/MBSF), the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) have built 40 new mobile towers, providing an additional 6,136 homes and businesses with access to an improved broadband service in the quarter. This brings the total towers built across the country to 126.

“Achieving 40 new mobile towers in the quarter is a remarkable achievement given that for 6 weeks of the quarter the country was in Level 4 and 3.”

“The Rural Broadband programme is continuing to progress at pace with 62% of rural households and businesses in scope for the programme now able to connect to broadband” said Mr Mitchell. “That is 51,904 rural households having access to improved broadband across the country, which is especially important during these challenging times with COVID, with more schooling and work being conducted at home.” This has been possible due to the work of the RBI2 programme partners; the 17 wireless ISPs (WISPs) working around the country and the Rural Connectivity Group.

This quarter we have seen an additional 186km of State Highway covered, bringing us to 45% of black spots on some of New Zealand’s most dangerous state highways covered. Additionally, there are now 50 tourism spots covered, including Waitiki Landing in Northland and Okarito Lagoon on the West Coast.

“Connectivity in some of these often very remote areas is not only welcome, but essential for safety and improved access to emergency services,” said Mr Mitchell. “Providing mobile coverage to the ends of cycle and walking tracks and on some of the most dangerous State Highways, means that help is on its way sooner and first responders have the best chance of helping people in difficulty”.

The Marae Digital Connectivity programme has now connected 169 marae around the country to broadband. Demand continues to be strong, and after the March/April lockdown, 177 applications to be connected were received in two months. At the time of publication, we are now seeing an even higher number of 220 marae connected and 143 with hardware installed.

“Marae are providing important digital hubs to local hapu and whanau especially during these challenging times with COVID and are assisting in further bridging the digital divide by providing digital connectivity hubs for those whanau who can’t afford broadband.”

When work on RBI2 and MBSF is completed by 2023, and combined with completion of the UFB roll-out and existing broadband networks, New Zealand will have broadband coverage to 99.8 per cent of the population.

The Quarterly Connectivity Report is released by CIP and can be found at: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz/quarterly.

The report provides information on the progress of:

  • Ultra-Fast Broadband roll-out;
  • the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase Two and Mobile Black Spots Fund programme; and
  • the Provincial Growth Fund marae digital connectivity programme.


  • At the end of the quarter, the Rural Broadband Initiative phase two (RBI2) has made improved broadband available to 51,904 rural households and businesses, which is 62 per cent of the overall target.
  • Under the Mobile Black Spot Fund Programme (MBSF), mobile coverage is being deployed to:
    • State Highway ‘blackspots’ where there is currently no mobile coverage, to support public safety in high traffic areas where there are high incident rates. 629 kilometres of mobile coverage have been deployed on State Highway ‘blackspots’; and
    • tourism locations around New Zealand where there is currently no mobile coverage, to support tourism and economic growth. 50 tourism sites have new mobile coverage.
  • WISPs are the 17 ‘wireless internet service providers’ who have partnered with Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to deliver the RBI2 programme, along with the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) who has contracted to deliver RBI2 and MBSF. RCG is a joint venture of the three mobile network operators, deploying mobile towers for RBI2/MBSF.
  • The Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme is the broadband programme deploying fibre-to- premises to 87 per cent of the population by 2022 (including private fibre). At the end of the quarter, UFB is available to 83 per cent of the population; with UFB connectivity completed to 194 towns and cities.
    • National uptake of UFB is 60 per cent, which is much higher than original forecasts.
  • UFB partners are the four companies contracted to CIP to deploy the UFB network: Chorus, Ultrafast Fibre, Northpower and Enable.
  • The ‘gigabit service’ is a UFB broadband Ethernet service that provides speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second download and 500 megabit per second upload on the wholesale UFB network. It is important to note that technical constraints mean the retail service will deliver close to a full gigabit to end customers, as some of the bandwidth is required for internet overheads and address headers for the end service.
  • The Marae Digital Connectivity programme enables marae (and regional digital hubs) to receive a grant-funded broadband connection and associated hardware to enable use of the connection, creating marae ‘digital hubs’ that support communities to undertake economic activity and enhance their digital capability. The programme was expanded last quarter to include urban Marae in Auckland, greater Wellington and Christchurch. The programme now includes all eligible marae nationwide.
  • More information can be found at CIP’s website: www.crowninfrastructure.govt.nz