Govt looks to speed up UFB rollout

  • 09/06/2015

The Government is trying to find ways to speed up the rollout of ultra-fast broadband (UFB), with internet users living in apartments and down shared driveways experiencing significant consenting delays.

Communications Minister Amy Adams today has released a number of proposals, including streamlining how network operators get permission to access private property and setting up a disputes process that can resolve disagreements quickly.

"With demand for UFB taking off and the number of network connections now exceeding expectations, we're gaining a better understanding of the nature and scale of some of the challenges that can be encountered with a programme this ambitious," says Ms Adams.

"There have been frustrating delays faced by some customers and industry in installing broadband cables up shared driveways and in apartment complexes due to disputes and permission requirements. There are also unnecessary costs being placed on the build through the inefficient use of existing infrastructure."

Under the current regulations, Ms Adams says in some cases it's costing double what it should to install UFB, and some customers are even waiting up to a year for permission from landowners.

Internet service provider Spark says many would-be UFB customers give up because it can be too difficult to get consent.

"We are concerned that connections are taking too long, costs can escalate and dropoff rates can double when a customer has to go through the consenting process," says Lindsay Cowley, Spark general manager product and service delivery.

"The move toward allowing a more permissive consenting regime in cases of right-of-ways and multi-unit dwellings is a pragmatic solution to this problem."

In one case Ms Adams outlines, feeding UFB to the Jordan Valley farming community where 300 people live would require the permission of 206 individual property owners, adding an estimated 18 months to the process more than doubling the $1 million cost.

The discussion document can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

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source: newshub archive