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Joyce calls for partners

21 Oct 2009

[UPDATED]The National Government issued a call to potential partners for its $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband initiative this morning.Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce released an “Invitation to Participate” (ITP), a selection process for seeking private sector partners who will co-invest with the government in ultra-fast broadband fibre infrastructure.Joyce says the initiative will be a “significant enabler of future economic growth, productivity improvements and overall global competitiveness”.The ITP follows on from the release of the government’s final proposal for the ultra-fast broadband initiative in September.The ITP provides the terms and conditions of the government’s investment, including technical specifications and the preferred commercial model for co-investing with partners in a Local Fibre Company (LFC).“The ITP is based upon an innovative commercial model that will see the government largely fund the deployment of fibre into communities, and the Crown’s LFC partner gradually taking a greater share in the LFC as it connects customers. This risk sharing model overcomes the major hurdle of uncertain demand.”The government will hold briefings with interested parties in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch over the next few weeks.[UPDATE]:The Government’s tentative start to their broadband proposal has now reached “impressive speeds” with today’s announcement of the “Invitation to Participate” (ITP) says the Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ).TUANZ chief executive Ernie Newman congratulated Minister Steven Joyce and his officials, saying the process had “got a real head of steam”.“It’s worth reflecting that today’s announcement falls just a day short of 18 months since National revealed the plan for ultra-fast broadband – the first of its policy announcements for the 2008 general election,” he says. “To have reached the stage of calling for proposals on such a complex and ambitious project is very encouraging.“New Zealanders can look forward to a time when leading edge telecommunications becomes a key weapon in raising our OECD rankings, restoring our international competitiveness, managing our environment, and making this a better country in which to live.”