CLARE CURRAN (Labour—Dunedin South) to the
Minister for Communications and Information Technology: Can he guarantee that the process currently under way to select partners in the Government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative will not be delayed to suit the interests of the incumbent carrier, Telecom New Zealand?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Communications and Information Technology)
: I can confirm that the current process being conducted by Crown Fibre Holdings will not be sped up or slowed down, or even remain the same, for the benefit of any bidder. Crown Fibre Holdings is currently conducting a competitive process designed to produce the best possible result for New Zealanders. The company has some flexibility in the timetable at its own discretion, if that would enhance the outcome for taxpayers and consumers.
Clare Curran: Will he guarantee that the funds the Government has set aside for investing in new fibre infrastructure will remain dedicated to the roll-out of new fibre infrastructure?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Yes.
Clare Curran: Does he agree that there is no public benefit in diverting funds into a purchase of Telecom’s old copper network?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The Government has been clear all the way along that it does not intend to spend money purchasing existing infrastructure from any existing bidder.
Clare Curran: When does he expect the first roll-out of ultra-fast broadband resulting from this initiative to occur?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The current expectation is prior to the end of this calendar year, which by my count would make it roughly 5 or 6 years ahead of when the previous Government managed to achieve something in the information and communications technology area.