Principles to guide future actions and initiatives

The principles below set how the government intends to meet
the objectives. These principles will inform any future action plans
and initiatives.

1: Enabling rather than funding connectivity in areas where population density is sufficient to support commercial investment and competition

The government may enable, but will not fund, the market to provide and upgrade connectivity infrastructure where the population is of sufficient size to support delivery of that infrastructure on a commercial basis and competition amongst telecommunications providers.

Supports objectives A and B

2: Taking a long-term comprehensive approach to supporting and enabling infrastructure provision

When supporting and enabling improvement to digital connectivity the government will favour approaches that:

  • provide enduring solutions appropriate to the area, including the ability to meet future growth in demand for increased speed and capacity
  • take into account long-term benefits and costs (including wider social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits and costs)
  • improve the long-term resilience of networks
  • support competition and new market entrants, and provide for infrastructure sharing, where appropriate

Supports objectives A, B, C and D

3: Extending fibre for better performance and resilience

The government will support or encourage the extension of fibre, including backhaul, to improve network performance and resilience in areas:

  • not already served by fibre and where customer density and expected demand is sufficient to make fibre a cost-effective long-term solution, and
  • where the commercial viability of fibre backhaul to support various access modes is the best long- term solution but is not commercially viable for the private sector to provide on its own.

Supports objectives A, B and D

4: Assessing technologies based on ability to help lower emissions and improve energy efficiency

When considering support of connectivity projects, the government will favour proposals that can assist network operators and users to:

  • build and operate the most energy-efficient connectivity option appropriate for the project area
  • provide additional capacity for users to adopt innovative technologies and management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve production and energy efficiency
  • increase the ability to work and access services remotely or from home.

Supports objectives C and E

What we are doing now (current actions)

Aotearoa New Zealand’s connectivity has come a long way, but we recognise that remote and rural New Zealanders are not always able to access the connectivity they need. That is why we need to continue to focus on the next chapter of New Zealand’s connectivity story. In addition to existing government programmes, over $100 million has been allocated in recent years to increase coverage, capacity and resilience of New Zealand’s telecommunications network. This will mean more New Zealanders have access to broadband and voice connectivity that meets their life, work and study needs.

Investing in better connectivity for rural New Zealand

  • Rural Capacity Upgrade Programme: To provide improved connectivity to rural communities.

$47 million has been allocated towards the first phase of this programme, delivering improved connectivity for up to 47,000 rural homes and businesses, and $43 million has been allocated to the second phase for up to 26,000 additional rural homes and businesses.

Delivery timeline 2022-2024

Delivering for our most remote New Zealanders

  • Remote Users Scheme: There are some New Zealanders who live in remote, hard to reach areas, who cannot access terrestrial connectivity options. $15 million has been allocated to a new scheme to extend coverage and offer innovative options for households in these areas.

Delivery timeline: 2022-2023

Supporting the roll-out of 5G for the benefit of New Zealanders

  • Long-term rights to the 3.5GHz spectrum are being allocated to support the roll-out of 5G mobile technology to cities and towns across New Zealand.

Delivery time: 2022 onwards

A child sits at a desk using a computer.

What we will do next (upcoming actions)

Work has begun on developing policies working towards the vision outlined in the Statement of Intent. At a high level these actions will include:

  • supporting the continued deployment of connectivity infrastructure
  • ensuring that regulatory settings underpinning the market support continued network build and competition in order to deliver quality connectivity services to New Zealand.

Details of specific policies and actions will be released as these are developed. Some initial focus areas are outlined below.

1: Setting and reviewing new measures to define ‘high speed’

There is no standard definition for ‘high-speed’ broadband. The government will define ‘high speed’, in reference to the expected user needs so that the level of New Zealand’s connectivity can be tracked and measured over time to ensure we are keeping up with international standards.

2: Supporting enduring local solutions for local needs

While government connectivity programmes and private investment have delivered a good base footprint across Aotearoa New Zealand, we are aware that communities may be best placed to identify their issues and reach solutions suited for their own situations. We will investigate opportunities for the government to continue to support local community initiatives to improve connectivity to meet their needs.

Working together

While the implementation of the Statement of Intent primarily focuses on work led, co-led or commissioned by the government, we will not achieve the vision or its objectives for better broadband and voice connectivity across Aotearoa New Zealand alone. Partnership with others will be essential.

In implementing the Statement of Intent, the government envisages working with:

  • existing and future network operators such as local fibre companies, mobile network operators, and wireless internet service providers
  • iwi, hapū, and other Māori organisations, particularly where issues are best addressed through “by Māori for Māori” approaches and solutions
  • communities, and non-government organisations that have details and knowledge of local needs, and innovative local solutions for how those needs could be best met.

The government also acknowledges the importance of collaborative work across government agencies and Crown entities. The Statement of Intent set out in Lifting Connectivity in Aotearoa complements other government initiatives including (but not limited to):

  • the Government’s response to Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy (in particular in relation to recommendation 9) developed by Te Waihanga New Zealand Infrastructure Commission
  • Fit for a Better World – Taiao Ora, Tangata Ora developed by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

We will also keep abreast of international standards and the advent of new telecommunications technologies to meet international frameworks or goals.