Ul­trafast de­lays ‘not po­lit­i­cal’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JOEL MAXWELL

Porirua’s work­ing class sub­urbs will have to wait for ul­trafast broad­band as the roll­out heads to the plush north­ern parts of the city – amid claims of pork bar­rel pol­i­tics.

As re­ported in Kapi-Mana News last week, Plim­mer­ton, Pa­pakowhai and Whitby will be among the first ar­eas in the Welling­ton re­gion to ben­e­fit from ul­trafast broad­band, which will be about 10 times faster than cur­rent speeds.

Ca­ble will start be­ing laid be­fore Christ­mas, with con­nec­tions avail­able by mid-2012.

Cho­rus com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Robin Kelly says an an­nounce­ment on when new fi­bre will be laid in other parts of Porirua will prob­a­bly be made early next year. He could not say when the roll­out might hap­pen, with the na­tion­wide project stretch­ing through seven more years to 2019.

How­ever, Mr Kelly de­nied claims roll­out pri­or­i­ties were ‘‘pork bar­rel’’ pol­i­tics ahead of elec­tions.

‘‘Not at all, no. There are a num­ber of things that need to hap­pen from a net­work point of view,’’ he said.

‘‘We can’t just start rolling out fi­bre in an area that doesn’t have the . . . ca­pac­ity to sup­port the ser­vices that could be de­liv­ered on that net­work.’’

The roll­out needed

to

be ap­proached in a log­i­cal way, with a fo­cus on the pri­or­ity cus­tomers such as busi­nesses, schools and med­i­cal cen­tres, he said.

That meant ap­ply­ing set cri­te­ria to se­lec­tions – and ar­eas needed a net­work ‘‘back­bone’’ to be in­cluded in the ini­tial group.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi said the ar­eas cho­sen for the first wave of the roll­out ‘‘smells of pork bar­rel pol­i­tics’’.

‘‘Our com­mu­ni­ties in the Kapiti Coast and many other parts of Porirua have been over­looked when they are in need.

‘‘There is an acute need for fast­speed in­ter­net right across all our com­mu­ni­ties, but the an­nounce­ment of the pri­or­ity ar­eas looks like Na­tional is des­per­ately try­ing to shore up its vote.’’

But the Na­tional can­di­date for Mana, List MP Hekia Parata, was de­lighted by the roll­out.

‘‘It’s a key part of our plan to build a stronger econ­omy,’’ she said.

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