Fast broadband policy and regulation

We are responsible for a range of policy and regulations that control and facilitate broadband and mobile infrastructure, including property access and dispute resolution for UFB installations, and environmental standards.

Property access for telecommunications

The Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Amendment Act makes it easier for people to connect to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) in cases involving shared property. It introduced a new, simplified consenting process that telecommunications companies must follow when installing modern networks like UFB, where the consent of more than one party is required.

The Amendment Act also encourages telecommunications network operators to use lower-impact methods of installation to reduce disruptions to property. The Amendment Act also enables network operators to use existing infrastructure such as electricity lines for deploying fibre in rural areas.

If you live in a shared property (eg, a multi-unit building) or a house accessed via shared property (eg, a shared driveway) and you have had problems connecting to UFB due to consent issues, we encourage you to contact your retail service provider to place a new connection order.

Tiered Consent Regime

The Amendment Act established a new tiered consenting regime that supports different fibre installation methods.

An installation is specified as 1 of 2 categories depending on the impact the installation method has on the property that neighbours share. Each category has a different consent requirement:

  • Category 1 methods have no lasting impacts on the shared property, eg, a fibre cable buried in grass on the side of a driveway. For these installations, network operators installing fibre won't need consent but must provide neighbours with no less than 5 working days’ notice.
  • Category 2 methods have lasting impacts, eg, digging into and resealing a small part of a concrete drive to conceal a cable. For these installations, neighbours will be provided a high-level design of what is proposed and will have 15 working days to object, based on a limited number of grounds. If they don't object within that timeframe, their consent is deemed.

Grounds for objecting

Grounds for objecting to a Category 2 installation are that the person:

  • disputes ownership of property that the proposed installation will make use of or disturb
  • can show that the installation will have a materially negative impact on the value of their property
  • can identify ways in which the proposed installation will unreasonably impact on their enjoyment of the property, or worsen an existing problem with the property, other than by having a visual impact alone
  • can show that the proposed installation will impede their plans for development of the property
  • has an easement over the affected property and can show that the proposed installation will have an enduring impact on the terms and conditions of that easement.

Category 1 doesn't apply to shared property overseen by a governing body (eg, a body corporate). In this case, Category 1 installation methods will be subject to Category 2 consent requirements.

Installations with an impact beyond these 2 categories are outside the scope of this regime and will continue to require the written consent of all affected owners eg, if the length of a driveway needs to be dug up it will still need all parties to actively consent.

Regulations for fibre installation

The Telecommunications (Property Access) Regulations 2017 set the fibre installation methods and requirements that fall under each category, as well as other details to give effect to the property access regime.

Read the Regulations(external link)

Dispute Resolution Scheme

The Amendment Act created a new dispute resolution scheme to protect property owners. This ensures that any disputes that arise as a result of the new consenting regime are dealt with fairly and efficiently. Network operators must become members of the scheme in order to use the rights of access.

In July 2017, the Minister for Communications appointed Utilities Disputes Limited as the approved scheme provider.

The scheme is free-of-charge for property owners and consumers to use. It relates only to disputes arising from the use, or intended use, of the statutory rights of access granted by the Amendment Act for shared property.

The scheme only handles disputes for shared land or buildings (eg, land and buildings in which multiple parties have an ownership interest) for which a statutory right of access is being exercised by a network operator.

Any complaints or disputes concerning damage to other property can be referred in the first instance to the respective network operator.

Visit the Utilities Disputes website for more information on dispute resolution or to raise a complaint with the Scheme.(external link)

Read the Deed for Services between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Utilities Disputes Limited [PDF, 1.1 MB] 

Read the Scheme Rules (Source: Utilities Disputes) [PDF 477KB](external link)

Fibre on electricity lines

The Amendment Act enables the use of existing infrastructure (such as electricity lines) for deploying fibre optic cable in rural areas.

Owners of existing works (including power poles, overhead lines, and other infrastructure connected with the provision of electricity) can now enter the land on which those works are located, and use the works to deploy, maintain, and upgrade fibre optic cable for delivering telecommunications services.

To balance out the impact of the right of entry on a private landowner’s property rights, the landowner is entitled to receive free or subsidised access to a fibre connection (depending on the length of the lead-in).

Read the Land Access Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) [PDF, 935 KB]

National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities

The Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities) Regulations 2016 (NESTF) came into effect on 1 January 2017, replacing the previous 2008 regulations.

The NESTF enables quicker and easier installation of low-impact infrastructure by telecommunications companies, speeding up access to broadband for consumers.

The NESTF provides greater national consistency, and removes the requirement for resource consents for equipment such as cabinets, poles and aerials, provided the main standards are met. This saves time and money for both telecommunications companies and local councils, while ensuring any effects on the environment are minimised and managed appropriately.

View the NESTF on the New Zealand Legislation website.(external link)

Users' guide to the NESTF

With support from the Ministry for the Environment and the NESTF Technical Advisory Group, we have developed a users' guide to help councils and the telecommunications industry understand and implement the NESTF.

The guide was developed after public consultation to ensure it provides appropriate information and guidance to support effective implementation of the NESTF.

Read the NESTF 2016 Users' Guide [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Further information about the NESTF and National Environmental Standards more generally can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

NESTF information on the Minitry for the Environment website(external link)

Related policy documents

We have released the following ultra-fast broadband policy documents in the interests of transparency and open governance.

The Minister for Communications and the Minister of Finance’s letter to the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) on Crown Infrastructure Partners’ role in the UFB programme:

Crown Infrastructure Partners’ (previously Crown Fibre Holdings’) role clarifies outcomes and price setting on the Ultra Fast Broadband Network [PDF, 355 KB]

The Statement of Economic Policy from the Minister for Communications to the Commerce Commission in relation to incentives for businesses to invest in ultra-fast broadband infrastructure:

Statement of Economic Policy to the Commerce Commission [PDF, 61 KB]

The 2 Regulatory Impact Statements that inform the development of amendments to the Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative model:

Ultra-fast broadband initiative - Amendment to model [PDF, 23 KB] 

Ultra-fast broadband regulatory regime [PDF, 56 KB]

Phase 1 Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative

Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) is being rolled out across New Zealand in partnership with a number of different fibre companies.

Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH) was formed as a Crown-owned company to manage the Government's investment in UFB infrastructure. It completed its initial task of selecting partners to participate in the UFB initiative in 2011. The telecommunications industry has recently sought clarification of CFH's role during the building of the UFB network and setting of network prices.

Following discussion between the telecommunications sector and the Ministry of Economic Development and CFH, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology and the Minister of Finance have written to the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) clarifying CFH's role.

Letter to the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum on Crown Fibre Holdings role clarity outcomes and price setting on the ultra-fast broadband network [PDF, 355 KB] 

Phase 1 broadband initiative documents

Open access deeds of undertaking

The Government’s broadband partners in the first phase of the UFB and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) initiatives were required to submit ‘deeds of undertaking’ to confirm open access on their fibre networks.

Telecom has also submitted a draft deed of undertaking for open access on its legacy fixed copper network, in accordance with section 41 of the Telecommunications Act 2001.

Copies of the deeds:

Telecom/Chorus Copper Deed [PDF, 333 KB]

Telecom/Chorus Fibre Deed [PDF, 349 KB]

Telecom/Chorus Rural Broadband Initiative Deed [PDF, 284 KB]

UltraFast Broadband Limited Fibre Deed [PDF, 4.6 MB]

Enable Networks Limited Fibre Deed [PDF, 4.5 MB]

Whangarei Local Fibre Company Limited Fibre Deed [PDF, 4.6 MB]

Vodafone Limited Rural Broadband Initiative Deed [PDF, 3 MB]

Letters from the Minister of Communications and Information Technology approving the deeds:

Letter to Telecom approving the Rural Broadband Initiative Deed [PDF, 85 KB]

Letter to Vodafone approving deed [PDF, 86 KB]

Letter to Enable Networks approving deed [PDF, 144 KB]

Letter to Telecom approving the Copper and Fibre Deeds [PDF, 99 KB]

Letter to Ultrafast Broadband Limited approving deed [PDF, 144 KB]

Letter to Whangarei Local Fibre Company approving deed [PDF, 145 KB]

Phase 1 Rural Broadband Initiative open access requirements

Any network infrastructure that is funded through the first phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) must be open access, and provide for a range of services being provided from a range of retail providers.

Vodafone undertakings

We consulted with the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) and other industry stakeholders on the open access obligations that would bind Vodafone under the RBI. We received 8 submissions.

Read the Vodafone non-discrimination consultation summary of the submissions [PDF 49KB](external link)

PDF versions of the individual submissions received are available below:

2Degrees

2Degrees Annex

Federated Farmers

Internet NZ [PDF, 534 KB]

Jonathan Brewer

Kordia/CallPlus

New Zealand Regional Fibre Group

VSAT

Woosh

Telecom undertakings

Telecom has structurally separated into Telecom and Chorus. Chorus is bound by the non-discrimination rules of the company’s Operational Separation Undertakings, and subsequent structural separation.

Under the RBI, the Government will subsidise some rural telecommunications services and offer these services to priority users at a lower price than the same, or similar, services are provided over the same network to other customers.

Telecom proposed a variation to the operational separation undertakings to clarify how certain rural telecommunications services would be treated under non-discrimination rules under the RBI contract with the Government.

Phase 1 Rural Broadband Initiative contracts

The Government has reached agreements with a number of infrastructure providers for a $300 million infrastructure roll out to bring more and faster broadband to rural areas over the next 6 years.

Agreements were signed with Chorus and Vodafone and include:

  • Chorus extending its existing fibre network by approximately 3,100 kilometres, with some homes on route being provided with the opportunity of fibre-to-the-premise at urban prices
  • Chorus extending urban-like broadband speeds to 57% of rural customers
  • constructing 154 new fibre-connected cell phone towers and upgrading 380 existing cell towers to enable fixed wireless broadband to rural customers, as well as improved mobile coverage
  • 86% of rural houses and businesses having access to broadband peak speeds of at least 5Mbps (compared with 20% currently - the RBI objective was 80%)
  • an upgrade path to 4G if this is rolled out by Vodafone in the future, which will enable even higher speeds to be offered
  • extending mobile coverage by 6,200 square kilometres to 125,700 square kilometres of rural New Zealand
  • 799 rural schools connecting directly to fibre networks, and 48 schools having digital microwave radio connections – this equates to 95% of rural schools having access to ultra-fast broadband speeds of 100Mbps (the RBI objective was 93%)
  • wholesale prices for faster broadband comparable to urban pricing
  • all competitors to Chorus and Vodafone being able to access rural broadband infrastructure funded by the government on a non-discriminatory basis.

The Rural Broadband Initiative contracts between the Ministry, Chorus (previously part of Telecom) and Vodafone were signed on 20 April 2011. Agreements were signed with Chorus and Network Tasman to deploy fibre to:

  • 193 additional provincial schools
  • 43 rural hospitals
  • 10 health centres
  • 183 public libraries.

Agreements have were signed with Inspire.net, Gisborne.net, Chorus and Araneo to connect 57 remote schools and their surrounding communities with fast wireless broadband.

Telecom RBI agreement, Schedule 2, Appendix A: RBI Rural Connections [XLS, 199 KB]

Telecom RBI agreement, Schedule 2, Appendix A: RBI CBDP Fixed Line [XLSX, 109 KB]

Telecom RBI agreement, Schedule 2, Appendix A: RPOPs and LBAPs [XLS, 92 KB]

MBIE & Vodafone Rural Broadband Agreement [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Telecom Deed of Indemnity [PDF, 270 KB]

MBIE Chorus Updated Agreement [PDF, 2.7 MB]

Read the industry Q&A for technical information on the RBI [PDF, 38 KB]