The Duct of Wellington

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Swedish company Ericsson has selected New Zealand’s capital to open a new optic fibre duct manufacturing facility, but what does it mean for the city?

Set to create around 30 jobs locally, the company says the roles will be specific, but more importantly, permanent.

“Yes we will be seeking permanent employees,” Communications Manager, Ericsson ANZ Communications manager Selina O’Connor told Techday.

“We will be looking for employees with a range of skills to undertake production and product development, such as production planning and purchasing, specialist extrusion manufacturing plastics engineering and some administrative roles.”

Currently operating in 180 countries, employing over 100,000 staff, the company’s decision to leave it’s Swedish facility for Todd Park, Porirua may strike as odd, but not in the eyes of Christian Kimell, Global Business Management vice president of Ericsson Cables.

“Locating the facility in New Zealand means that our delivery timelines will be significantly reduced,” he said. “We will reduce the environmental impact of the shipping process and have the opportunity to utilise local skills.

Ericsson said that for every 10 percentage point increase in penetration rate, GDP increases by 1 percentage point and further for every 1,000 new connections 80 new jobs are created.

“The fibre we are producing is a critical component of one of the most important infrastructure projects yet undertaken in New Zealand, which is building a nationwide broadband platform from which New Zealand’s digital transformation will grow,” Kimell said.

So, will Ericsson actually be working in unison with the New Zealand Government as they role out a huge fibre deployment program?

“We are working to support our customer Chorus who is deploying the fibre for the New Zealand Government’s Ultrafast Broadband and Rural Broadband initiatives,” O’Connor said, unsurprisingly.

Offering a relatively hazy outlook for 2013, Ericsson would not reveal exactly when the opening would take place, no doubt keen to avoid tying themselves to a specific date.

“Work on the fit out of the facility has commenced on site,” O’Connor said. “We are planning the first deliveries from the facility in the second half of 2013 but we can’t provide a specific for the commencement of supply to our customers.

“We have a commitment of delivery fibre to Chorus until 2019, we also have some smaller New Zealand customers and are looking to deliver products into the Asia-Pacific region.”

While the company wants to publicise its increased investment in New Zealand, it remained unfazed by its open plan to use the country as an appropriate geographical base to Asia-Pacific, where it is expected to launch a product assault on the market.

“New Zealand’s proximity to Asia where we anticipate future fibre demand, have created the right environment and timing for this investment,” said Alfred Ling, Head of Ericsson NZ.

Will Ericsson’s arrival in New Zealand help the Government as they role out a huge fibre deployment program?

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