Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce says he is very pleased with the high level of interest from parties seeking to participate in the government's urban fibre roll-out.
Last month the government issued an in Invitation to Participate in the partner selection process for the government's $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband investment initiative.
In total 38 groups have expressed an interest, including several "significant" international players and a strong selection of local companies.
Mr Joyce says this shows the private sector is as excited about the investment as the government is.
"We are now getting very close to identifying the private sector partners who will build the infrastructure and get the roll-out underway.
"From my perspective the right partners will share in the government's vision of the transformative ability of ultra-fast broadband. They will have the credibility to step-up and deliver this critical piece of infrastructure in a cost-effective manner, and they will be patient and realistic investors.
"In the Crown, they will find a highly motivated partner: one that is prepared to do the hard yards, to shoulder its fair share of the risks, and to see this ambitious project through."
The 38 groups now have until 29 January 2010 to lodge their full proposals.