New Ultra-Fast Broadband Rollout bill makes it easier to get consent

Date Jul 14, 2020
Blog category Broadband
By Michael Speight


New legislation introduced by Parliament will make it easier for people to connect to Ultra-Fast Broadband. Specifically, targeting people involved in shared property or apartments.

"New Zealanders are hungry for better connectivity and it's frustrating that they're experiencing unnecessary delays or problems caused by neighbour disputes or unanswered queries. The Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Bill will make it simpler and quicker for New Zealanders with shared property access to get the benefits of faster broadband wherever they live or work," Ms Adams says.

There are around 250,000 Ultra-Fast Broadband orders, which need permission for access to property shared between neighbours, such as shared driveways or in apartment buildings. This will result in delays and other problems, such as getting the permission to carry out the fibre installation. 

Simpler consenting rules will result in a faster installation of Ultra-Fast Broadband to properties where consent is required.

"This Bill will help break some of these deadlocks and speed up the delivery of UFB to New Zealanders who are keen to keep up with the latest digital developments for their homes or businesses, while still ensuring necessary protections are in place."

The new tiered consent regime will provide two new categories of simplified approvals according to the impacts the fibre installation would have on the property. Those outside these two categories will require consent of all affected owners.

The Bill will better protect homeowners through providing recourse to a disputes resolution scheme.

The two categories are: 

  • Category 1 installations are those involving existing equipment including conduit or ducts; aerial installations; and installations that only disturb soft surfaces that can easily be restored.
  • Category 2 installations are micro trenching within a designated width; below-surface installations where the only physical impacts are the access, entry, and exit points of a designated size, such as with directional drilling; and open trenching that is no bigger than a prescribed size.

"In this Bill the Government has endeavoured to strike the right balance between simplifying consent requirements, while still respecting the rights of property owners," Ms Adams says.

"The demand for UFB is huge with over 24,000 orders received and 16,000 connections made in April 2016 alone. New Zealanders fully grasp how important technology is to the future of this country and want to get better, faster broadband wherever they live, work and play."

"As one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects New Zealand has ever undertaken, the UFB programme is not a small and incremental upgrade to an existing network but rather a complete rollout of a new and innovative technology into our homes, businesses and schools and as such justifies a dedicated legislative regime to manage issues such as those dealt with in this Bill."


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