Rt Hon John Key
Imagine driving from Christchurch to Invercargill, six times in a row. That’s about the same distance as the 3,300 kilometres of fibre cables that will be laid in Christchurch when the ultra-fast broadband rollout is complete.
As part of our work to build a more productive and competitive economy, and to provide better public services, National is delivering improved Internet connectivity to 97.8 percent of New Zealanders by 2019.
More than 127,000 people in Christchurch are now able to connect to ultra-fast broadband and throughout New Zealand, 2.4 million people can. This is part of our $2 billion investment into the ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband initiatives.
Christchurch has an advantage over other cities because it’s the only city to deploy fibre into almost every building as it gets built. Across Canterbury, 17 new cell towers are live, and 47 will be upgraded by the middle of next year. Canterbury schools are all able to connect and six Canterbury hospitals have access to fast broadband capable of 100 Mbps.
Many New Zealanders already know how useful broadband is. More than 830 new households and businesses connect to ultra-fast broadband fibre every working day.
Every school, integrated family health centre and 90 percent of businesses are now able to connect. There are now 19 towns and cities across regional New Zealand where the ultra-fast broadband build is complete, including Ashburton and Timaru. Ahead of schedule, this is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most successful infrastructure projects.
In remote and rural communities, this first phase of our rural broadband initiative is reaching around 300,000 New Zealanders – and for some their Internet speeds are around 100 times faster than they were before.
Five years ago when this project began, only one in five rural homes and businesses had access to peak broadband speeds of at least 5Mbps. Now nine out of 10 rural homes outside ultra-fast broadband areas have access to at least those speeds.
Other infrastructure projects are seeing progress too. Construction contracts have been let for the new Christchurch Northern Corridor and stage two of the Christchurch Southern Motorway. These two motorway projects represent a combined $435 million investment and are critical for improving travel times and supporting growth and development. Construction for both is set to get underway in October.
This significant spend on infrastructure by the Government provides the incentives to attract business and other investment, and will help to ensure that Christchurch not only rebuilds but thrives.
With Christchurch developing into a dynamic, forward-thinking city, modern infrastructure will be a necessary ingredient for a prosperous future.