New Zealand needs to catch up with the rest of the world in order to entice its young professionals to stay in the country, Minister of Communications David Cunliffe told this year’s 9th Annual Telecommunications & ICT Summit.
Cunliffe referred to this year’s budget, with $500 million being put into the industry, as well as Labour’s 10 year plan to get faster broadband speeds and fibre optic network into the home. He believes results will begin to show over the next 12 months, as the broadband investment is being rolled out.
“The current system is not meeting needs of consumers and the industry,” said Cunliffe, alluding to the number of young professionals fleeing the country because not enough jobs are available due to slow technological advancements. Both Labour and National blamed each other for the state of broadband in New Zealand, with National Communications Spokesman Maurice Williamson offering an “ambitious” strategy to expand the reach of the internet.
National has already made public its intention to invest $1.5 billion if it wins this year’s election. However, it wants to expand broadband reach to 75% of homes and double the size of its funding to develop rural and remote communities over a five-year period. In spite of the finger-pointing, each party did agree that “keeping our best and brightest in the country” is one of the major benefits of investing in fibre.
“New Zealand should approach investment in fibre with urgency,” says Williamson.