In­ter­net tim­ing ‘un­ac­cept­able’


Cen­tral Otago mayor Tim Cado­gan has gone on a high-speed of­fen­sive, chal­leng­ing the Gov­ern­ment over its lat­est ul­trafast broad­band roll­out.

Cado­gan said the dates an­nounced for Alexan­dra (2020), Clyde (2023) and Roxburgh (2024) were ‘‘un­ac­cept­able’’ and the fact that Ranfurly missed out al­to­gether, he was ‘‘not happy about’’.

‘‘We’ve got to have it [sooner]. If you’re not on high-speed in­ter­net, you’re ba­si­cally still driv­ing a horse and cart while ev­ery­one else is in mo­tor cars.’’

The re­gion’s iso­la­tion, ter­rain and pop­u­la­tion counted against it, Cado­gan said.

He drafted a let­ter to En­ergy and Re­sources Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges on Fri­day out­lin­ing his is­sues and rec­om­men­da­tions.

‘‘Is it go­ing to make an ounce of dif­fer­ence bang­ing that drum? I don’t know, but I’m go­ing to try.’’

On Thurs­day Cado­gan said it was ‘‘ex­cep­tion­ally good news’’ for the re­gion.

He said hav­ing Cromwell sched­uled for con­nec­tion by the end of next year was ‘‘a win­ner’’.

‘‘That’s great for that part of the dis­trict. The rest of the dis­trict, I’m not happy about.’’

He high­lighted the growth in busi­ness and tourism as some­thing the Gov­ern­ment needed to con­sider when con­nect­ing towns, es­pe­cially in the Man­iototo where the Otago Cen­tral Rail Trail was draw­ing more and more peo­ple.

There were other op­tions aside from what the Gov­ern­ment had planned, Cado­gan said.

There was an al­ter­nate ser­vice provider in Cromwell and [bring­ing] it down the gorge to ser­vice towns with­out it was a pos­si­bil­ity, he said.

In a Facebook post on Fri­day, Cado­gan wrote: ’’I make no prom­ise other than to work hard to find a so­lu­tion.’’

Man­iototo Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Robert Ha­zlett said he was more con­cerned about bet­ter mo­bile phone cov­er­age.

Ha­zlett could not see ul­trafast broad­band in the near future.

‘‘I can’t see them spend­ing mil­lions to get a ca­ble out to Patearoa for 10 houses.’’

Over 36,000 Otago res­i­dents would have ac­cess to ul­trafast broad­band af­ter a $300 mil­lion net­work ex­pan­sion an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day.

Alexan­dra, Clyde, Cromwell, Roxburgh, Oa­maru, Wanaka, Lake Hawea and Ar­row­town are on the list of 151 New Zealand towns to be in­cluded in the lat­est roll-out.

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