The first UFB initiative has seen the Government invest $1.345bn, matched by private sector funding from four partners to ensure Fibre To The Premise coverage to 75% of New Zealanders by 2019. All schools and hospitals were passed by the end of 2015 as well as 90% of businesses.
The Government is assisting to fund what’s known as “the last mile”, dark fibre (unlit, without electronics) which forms the communal network running down streets, past premises. The partners are funding some of the communal network, customer connections from the property boundary to the home, school or office; Layer 2 electronics & operational expenditure.
By December 2016 the initiative was more than 70% complete with uptake at around 30%. Waiheke Island was the 21st place to see UFB completed, from among 33 Candidate Areas (equivalent to 50-odd towns and cities).
UFB is fibre optic capable delivering speeds of a minimum 100 Mbps downstream & 50 Mbps upstream, and capable of being upgraded to 10 times these speeds. The UFB imposes wholesale price caps until 2020. After that, the Government has announced that it will regulate fibre services similar to the model for utilities. The Government is also retaining the current fibre ‘unbundling’ requirements to promote innovation on the UFB network from 2020.