Pro­duc­tiv­ity de­mands ul­tra fast broad­band

Matamata Chronicle - - Property -

‘‘The govern­ment should be think­ing about a step change and fu­ture proof­ing for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties as it con­sid­ers the out­come of its Ru­ral Broad­band Ini­tia­tive process,’’ Fed­er­ated Farm­ers chief ex­ec­u­tive Conor English said.

This fol­lows me­dia spec­u­la­tion on the out­come of the ini­tia­tive for up to $300mil­lion of govern­ment fund­ing over six years.

‘‘ Fed­er­ated Farm­ers is very am­bi­tious not just for ru­ral New Zealand but for all New Zealand. That is why we are so pas­sion­ate about the ini­tia­tive and lob­bied very hard to get the in­vest­ment level from $48mil­lion to $300mil­lio,’’ Mr English said.

‘‘While this still doesn’t match the level of in­vest­ment go­ing into the ur­ban ini­tia­tive, it is crit­i­cal that the govern­ment gets it right. They have an op­por­tu­nity to set our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties up for the next quar­ter cen­tury with a world beat­ing broad­band ser­vice.

‘‘ Fed­er­ated Farm­ers’ bot­tom line is pretty sim­ple. Of the one mil­lion Ki­wis deemed ru­ral, we want the great­est num­ber poss- ible to get the fastest broad­band speeds (down load­ing and up­load­ing), as quickly as pos­si­ble, as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble and as cheap as pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘ We need the in­fra­struc­ture along with com­pe­ti­tion as strong driv­ers of in­no­va­tion, ser­vice and costs. There are some ex­cit­ing so­lu­tions around fi­bre and wire­less. While we would ide­ally like fi­bre to ev­ery farm, as in the cities, we know this may not be re­al­is­tic. How­ever we are see­ing wire­less 4G LTE be­ing rolled out in coun­tries such as Aus­tralia, In­dia, and China which pro­vide greatly en­hanced per­for­mance there. We don’t want broad­band speeds in six years time that Welling­ton had six years ago. Ru­ral New Zealan­ders should not be treated as sec­ond class cit­i­zens. Ul­trafast ru­ral broad­band means more pro­duc­tiv­ity and so­cial con­nect­ed­ness. Ru­ral peo­ple are peo­ple too. One thing we don’t want to ex­port is our peo­ple.

‘‘We know that many of our city cousins would be in­ter­ested in liv­ing in ru­ral New Zealand if they too could get the speeds they en­joy in the city. Why over­crowd the cities? Ex­cel­lent ru­ral broad­band would take pres­sure off en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­fra­struc­ture de­mand in places like Auck­land. And those one mil­lion Ki­wis deemed ru­ral pro­duce more than 65 per cent of our ex­ports and pro­vide the heart of our multi-bil­lion dol­lar tourism in­dus­try.

‘‘We need the next big en­abler of pro­duc­tiv­ity so we can en­hance that per­for­mance. Let’s face it, right now New Zealand needs ev­ery ex­port dol­lar it can get,’’ Mr English said.

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