Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce says the government has received a strong and positive response to its proposals to deploy fast broadband to rural communities.
The government's rural broadband targets are that:
* 93% of rural schools will receive fibre, enabling speeds of at least 100Mbps, with the remaining 7% to achieve speeds of at least 10Mbps.
* Over 80% of rural households will have access to broadband with speeds of at least 5Mbps, with the remainder to achieve speeds of at least 1Mbps.
Mr Joyce says the government is proposing to fund the rural initiative through a combination of direct government funding and revenue from a more transparent and effective industry levy than the current TSO levy.
A total of 67 submissions were received on the rural broadband proposal and 23 on the TSO reform proposal.
Mr Joyce says the submissions give the government a clear mandate to move quickly to improve the state of rural broadband.
"It is now time to focus on developing the proposals to ensure the $300 million earmarked for rural broadband is spent in a manner that achieves the best possible outcome for rural New Zealand.
"I am pleased with the large number of submissions on these two proposals, which demonstrates the significance of the decisions before the government. I expect to announce the government's final policies on rural broadband and TSO reform in early 2010."
The submissions are now available on the Ministry of Economic Development website at www.med.govt.nz/rural-broadband and www.med.govt.nz/tso.