Wgtn’s UFB woes

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Welling­ton has missed out on be­ing among the first re­gions to re­ceive ul­tra fast broad­band fi­bre, a de­ci­sion that will neg­a­tively im­pact eco­nomic growth in the re­gion and na­tion­ally, says Greater Welling­ton chair­woman Fran Wilde.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Steven Joyce an­nounced last week the govern­ment had se­lected part­ners to lay fi­bre-op­tic cable to homes and busi­nesses in nine other North Is­land cities and towns, with con­struc­tion of the net­work to start in Whangarei be­fore Christ­mas.

Ms Wilde said it was un­der­stand­able that the cost of the ac­tual roll­out for Welling­ton was chal­leng­ing, but a re­cent Busi­ness and Eco­nomic Re­search Ltd (BERL) re­port showed the medium to long term eco­nomic ben­e­fits were mas­sive.

It sug­gested early roll-out of ul­tra fast broad­band (UFB) in the Welling- ton ur­ban ar­eas would add an ad­di­tional 11 per cent to the re­gion’s over­all GDP by 2026, com­pared with a con­tri­bu­tion of 8.9 per cent that the nation-wide roll-out will make to New Zealand’s over­all GDP.

‘‘These num­bers show that the na­tional econ­omy would ben­e­fit from the Welling­ton re­gion be­ing in the fore­front of the govern­ment’s UFB roll-out,’’ Ms Wilde said.

‘‘The re­port also shows that the great­est up­take and pro­duc­tiv­ity gains from UFB are in the cre­ative in­dus­tries, cen­tral govern­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and health – all key sec­tors in our re­gional econ­omy, ac­count­ing for a quar­ter of all jobs in ur­ban Welling­ton. Im­por­tantly, some of these sec­tors are also grow­ing faster here than na­tion­ally.’’

Mr Joyce said an­nounce­ments on how the net­work would be built in other cities would be made ‘‘soon’’.

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