Over the past few weeks I've been working with lines company interests to get fibre over power poles back onto the legislative agenda.
A year ago MBIE issued an excellent discussion paper setting the scene for legislative changes aimed at two outcomes - easing the process for getting fibre to multi-owner dwellings, and allowing lines companies to string fibre over existing power poles using a "deemed access" regime instead of having to get new easements for every property at prohibitive cost.
The former is now part of a Bill before parliament.
The latter stalled because of opposition from rural interests.
This opposition has now been withdrawn and a win-win solution reached. Submissions closed yesterday. I personally made a short submission pointing out the three big benefits as follows:
- Properties whose land is crossed using deemed access would get a mandatory fibre drop giving them access to city grade fibre.
- The business case for regional Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) would be greatly improved as every power pole would become a potential backhaul connection managed by the local lines company.
- Regional backhaul pricing would fall due to far more competition as the lines companies entered the market.
Fingers crossed. We should know in the coming days how the government responds. Its a no brainer to me and a huge advance in rural and regional connectivity.