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.