Vodafone and Axia Form Alliance for Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative In New

AUCKLAND, New Zealand and CALGARY, May 9 /CNW/ - Vodafone, the leading challenger in the New Zealand telecommunications market, and Axia NetMedia Corporation (Axia), one of Canada's premiere fibre grid operators, have formed an alliance to deliver the solution to the New Zealand Government's Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative (UFB).

The Government of New Zealand has committed to spending $1.5bn to help New Zealand make a quantum leap from a copper-based network to a world class ultra-fast broadband network.

Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners says the alliance with Axia will enable Vodafone to not only take part in the UFB project as a retail provider, but also help invest in the future of New Zealand. "Mobile companies are one of the biggest users of fibre in the world - we need it to connect our cellsites together. But for Vodafone it doesn't stop there - we want to help New Zealand build on the promise of ultra-fast broadband. We will work with Axia and hopefully with the government to deliver to New Zealanders the infrastructure to take us to the next economic level."

Axia has built similar Next Generation Networks (NGN) in Canada, France and Singapore and works to a very successful model: it doesn't compete with its own customers. Its NGN model combines state-of-the-art technical fibre architecture with flexible commercial, governance and regulatory frameworks that has allowed it to create a NGN solution specifically tailored for New Zealand.

"We are excited about helping New Zealanders achieve the optimal UFB outcome, one that puts the end users and the country first and is future-proofed both in technology and industry structure. The challenge is multidimensional and requires proper consideration of public policy, pricing of services, technology and creating the right regulation and competitive tension. The Government of New Zealand has set a policy framework that can achieve the desired outcomes," says Axia Chairman and CEO Art Price.

"Of all the countries in the world, New Zealand stands to benefit the most from the building of a next generation network. We are remote from our markets, we have a small population but we think smarter and we work harder to develop our intellectual property. If we build a network that allows us to interact with our customers overseas then all New Zealand benefits from the economic gain it will bring. The tyranny of distance has been a major speed bump in New Zealand's economic progress and we have the opportunity to remove that barrier for all time," says Stanners.

Vodafone New Zealand has been making it easy for New Zealanders to connect to the Internet for over 13 years and has a customer base of 2.5 million customers. Vodafone New Zealand is part of the Vodafone Group which was established in the United Kingdom in 1983 and has equity interests in 27 countries over five continents, and partner networks in a further 31 countries.

Axia sells Real Broadband(TM) and passive services on Next Generation Networks that have implemented the Axia NGN Solution. The Axia NGN Solution has been implemented in Alberta, France and Singapore. Axia trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "AXX". For more information, visit its website at www.axia.com.

This News Release contains forward looking statements, including, without limitation, statements containing the words "should", "believe", "anticipate", "may", "plan", "will", "continue", "intend", "expect", "estimate" and other similar expressions which constitute "forward looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. These statements are based on our current expectations, estimates, forecasts and assumptions about the operating environment, economies and markets in which we operate and are subject to important assumptions, risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Examples of these statements would include those where Axia forecasts its success and timing in winning new NGN business, the timing of completion and estimated total costs of our networks, the revenues and operating costs associated with these networks over time, and Axia's ability to generate future cash flows and avail itself of other financing alternatives given current market conditions. The assumptions, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking information, include, but are not limited to, changes in customer markets, changes in demand for our services, our inability to deliver services in a timely and cost efficient manner, technological change, general economic conditions and other risks detailed from time to time in our ongoing filings with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities, including those in our Annual Information Form, which filings can be found at www.sedar.com. Given these assumptions, risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward looking statements. Unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward looking statements either as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

%SEDAR: 00002394E

SOURCE Axia NetMedia Corporation

For further information: For further information: In Canada: Dawn Tinling, VP, Investor Relations and Communications, Axia NetMedia Corporation, (403) 538-4074, dawn.tinling@axia.com; In New Zealand: Paul Brislen, Vodafone New Zealand, Mob +64 021 721 337, Email paul.brislen@vodafone.com; Sue Elliott, Communications Chambers, +64 0274 462 964, sue.elliott@commschambers.co.nz

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