We’ve looked closely at the telecommunications sector in New Zealand. This State of Play describes the current state of the sector, the issues it faces as well as those it needs to prepare for.

The report is based on our own research, a survey of infrastructure owners as well as conversations with people within the sector.

Read the State of Play

Key findings 

Sector background

  • The sector compares favourably with other countries in the OECD and is in a strong position relative to other infrastructure sectors.
  • The sector has gone through a transformational period with the rollout of fibre. Once complete, 87% of New Zealanders will have access to fibre by the end of 2022 and New Zealand will be one of the leading countries in the OECD for fibre availability1.
  • There has been an increasing demand for both the speed and volume of data. This demand is expected to continue to significantly grow.
  • Private sector involvement is high in telecommunications. The Government’s participation, through Crown Infrastructure Partners, has broadly been successful in helping to close gaps in access to telecommunications networks.  

What services this sector provides New Zealanders

  • Telecommunications links people, enabling the flow of ideas and information.
  • It connects markets, enables new technologies and is becoming increasingly essential for accessing key services such as education, health, financial, and government services.  
  • The impact of COVID-19 highlighted both the importance of telecommunications connections and the barriers faced by those without them.  

What are the key issues for the sector 

  • Ensuring that New Zealanders who live remotely have access to the telecommunications services is a challenge for the sector. While access can be critical to wellbeing, providing access is not always economic and the long-term solution to this problem is not clear. 
  • Cyber security is also a growing challenge, and the risks this poses could become even greater with technology changes like the Internet of Things and automated transport systems. 
  • As the world moves increasingly online, the disadvantages faced by those who don’t have access to telecommunications services becomes even greater. The solution to this divide goes further than having access to and being able to afford the infrastructure services, it also involves skills, motivation, and trust.

How well does it deliver 

  • The combination of our existing broadband infrastructure and our mobile infrastructure has been successful in providing high-quality internet services. New Zealand compares well with other OECD countries. This success has been compounded by ever-growing importance of connectivity as Covid-19 has shown.  

What does the future hold 

  • Today the sector is well placed in relation to the services that New Zealanders get from their telecommunications infrastructure. With rapid demand-side change, as well as new and uncertain technologies such as 5G, and satellite broadband this strong position will be tested.

Let us know what you think 

Our strategy work has the potential to shape New Zealand for decades to come, and it's important to us that everyone has the chance to have their say. Tell us what you think about our snapshot. 
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