RealTime IT News

Telstra Joins in New Zealand Broadband Venture

Australian telco Telstra will spend more than NZ$1 billion (US$487.4 million) over five years to create a national broadband network in New Zealand, after announcing a joint venture between its NZ operations and those of communications group Austar United Communications.

Telstra New Zealand and Austar's NZ operation Saturn Communications will form Telstra Saturn, which will offer voice, data, Internet, mobile and pay television services to NZ business and residential markets.

The companies' investment will develop infrastructure including a submarine backbone linking Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as fibre access in the Central Business Districts of these cities.

Telstra Saturn will also explore wireless business connectivity in the smaller NZ centres of Hamilton, Dunedin and Tauranga.

The new company will also provide fibre access in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to supplement Saturn's existing network in Wellington.

While the investment will supplement some of NZ's infrastructure, Telstra is also aiming to overhaul New Zealand's data capacity.

"For example, our submarine cable will have three times the capacity of the existing North/South Island link, to supply the bandwidth which will be critical for the growth of New Zealand's information economy," said Lindsay Yelland, Telstra group managing director for business solutions and Telstra Saturn's new chairman of the board.

Telstra also intends to support its original network investment now with additional products and services in the future.

The companies intend to sign a final merger agreement in March.