Telecom New Zealand invited to negotiations for government's broadband plan

After being snubbed out of initial negotiations, Telecom New Zealand has been asked by the government to participate in "prioritized negotiations" for its ultra-fast broadband (UFB) initiative in 25 country regions.

Crown Fibre Holdings, the government agency overseeing the build out of the UFB, said that the negotiations do not include areas--including Hamilton, Tauranga, Tokoroa, New Plymouth, Hawera and Wanganui--where negotiations have been approved with Wel Networks and Northpower.

In addition, the government is conducting prioritized negotiations with Enable Networks in the South Island city of Christchurch and with the Flute joint venture for broadband in Dunedin.

To satisfy the government's requirements to participate in the UFB, Telecom New Zealand has volunteered to structurally separate its company into two units.

Analysts said the news is a good sign that TNZ could become a big part of the UFB.

"It puts Telecom in the box seat in most of the remaining areas," Guy Hallwright, analyst at Forsyth Barr Ltd. in Auckland told Bloomberg, adding that "it is only the announcement of a preferred bidder rather than a deal so there's quite a bit of water to go under the bridge."

For more:
- Bloomberg has this article

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