Did New Zealand get it right on broadband?

Australia and New Zealand embarked on high speed broadband roll-outs around the same time. Their approach, it seems, is cheaper, faster – with more reliance on fibre – and has been quicker to deploy.

So what’s the difference? Well, they didn’t trust it in the hands of a government agency. Instead Crown Fibre Holdings offered tenders to private sector businesses, including the newly separated incumbent Chorus, and power companies used to infrastructure roll outs.

As Dr Ross Patterson, partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Waters lawyers in Auckland, explains, prices have also been kept down by the competitive tension created by retaining the existing copper network.

As Australia’s NBN moves slowly ahead, is it really too late to adopt some of the New Zealand approach here? Would Telstra agree to separate sooner for the chance to build and own a chunk of the NBN?

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