Northland’s $33.8m ultra fast broadband rollout

Published 31st January, 2017

The Government’s move to extend the ultra fast broadband fibre network further in to Northland is expected to provide a significant boast to the region’s economy.

Twenty locations across Northland will be hooked up within the next six years as part of the $33.8m second phase of the Government’s national $300 million UFB2 rollout. Two will be effective by the end of this year.

The announcement was made at Dargaville’s War Memorial Hall on Thursday by the Associate Minister for Economic Development Nathan Guy. Other locations will be included in the next roll-out which will include rural areas and blackspots.

Lines company Northpower won the contract to build networks in 12 Whangarei and Kaipara towns over the next four years. The first to benefit is Hikurangi where the build starts in April followed by Waipu in June. Connections at these two sites are expected to be available before Christmas.

Northpower’s chair Nikki Davis-Colley says the extension will provide fibre to a further 9000 premises adding to the 20,000 UFB premises in Whangarei.

“It will be such a benefit to these communities… and a significant boast to Northland,” she says.

Whangarei’s Deputy Mayor Sharon Morgan believes the initiative will give emerging towns and communities across Northland a transformational boost.

“It will be a boon for Hikurangi and will add real energy to Waipu, a place that has a strong identity and is on the up.”

Northland Inc chief executive David Wilson says digital access was fundamental to strengthening and diversifying the regional economy.

“Most businesses transact online these days; this is another step towards Northland businesses being able to do that and given that Whangarei has the highest business take-up of UFB in the country they are ready.”

“Combined with the international submarine cable at Mangawhai, Northland will have a good basis to develop its digital economy further.”

He says the opportunity to attract international investment, local tech savvy businesses to Northland and better support for research and development would now be there.

Other towns to benefit are: One Tree Point in July while Dargaville West will get underway in January 2018, Ruakaka in March 2018 and Mangawhai Village in September 2018. Dargaville East will begin to receive fibre from February 2019, followed by Mangawhai Heads South in March 2019 and Mangawhai Heads North in August 2019.

The Kaiwaka UFB network build will begin in April 2020, Maungaturoto, Waikaraka and Ruawai in 2020. Work on the Paparoa network will start in January 2021 and be completed in May 2021.

The remaining nine towns Ahipara, Kaitaia, Moerewa/Kawakawa, Russell, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Paihia and Taipa Bay/Mangonui will be connected by Chorus within six years.