Broadband boost on the cards
Matamata-Piako has gone from the bench to the starting lineup in Government’s ultra- fast broadband rollout.
Communications and Information Technology Spokeswoman Amy Adams, joined by Prime Minister John Key in Morrinsville last Thursday, said Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha are ‘‘strong contenders’’ for inclusion in a UFB extension.
‘‘The list of additional towns to receive fibre to the home, and the order of rollout, will be determined following a competitive bid process, which will take into account the cost of deployment, strength of consumer demand, and regulatory and other assistance from local authorities,’’ she said.
‘‘However, based on the methodology used for the original rollout, this could see a number of towns be strong contenders for inclusion in the UFB extension.’’
The announcement followed a recent meeting between Matamata- Piako mayor Jan Barnes and district business leaders with MPs Lindsay Tisch ( Waikato) and Scott Simpson (Coromandel) about the importance of bringing the UFB rollout to the district.
Speaking to Fairfax after Adams’ visit, which she attended, Barnes said she was ‘‘absolutely delighted’’ by the outcome.
Manager of the Matamata Public Relations Association, Sue Whiting, was also very happy with the announcement.
‘‘It is nice to know some one listened to us,’’ she said.
Her Matamata group, along with the Morrinsville and Te Aroha business associations, requested a meeting with Tisch, Simpson and Barnes and pointed out that their areas had not been considered for the UFB rollout and that they should, she said.
Also present was Morrinsville Business and Promotions Association chairman Nigel McWilliam, who said its was ‘‘great news’’ for Matamata-Piako.
‘‘We are now on the plan for the implementation for this very important infrastructure which will support the district’s continued growth,’’ he said.
‘‘ UFB will enhance the efficiencies for businesses already here and can only encourage other business to invest in our district. Business means jobs and strength of community.’’
Te Aroha Business Association chair Shaun O’Neill said it is ‘‘awesome news’’.
‘‘Let’s make sure that our three towns are at the front end of the rollout,’’ he said.
‘‘We believe that we can make a pretty persuasive argument to be first off the block, given the level of industry and commerce that is conducted in our district.
‘‘This is the best district in New Zealand for agribusiness and has the most rapid tourism growth in New Zealand.
‘‘ The addition of ultra- fast broadband will be fantastic for our existing businesses and be a real attraction for any new business to our district.’’
Waikato MP Lindsay Tisch said the inclusion of communities in his electorate, including Matamata, was ‘‘exciting news’’.
‘‘ I am delighted about this potentially huge technological and communications boost to our region,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s great news for businesses and it’s great news for householders.’’
Huntly, which is also in the Waikato electorate, was also included in the announcement.
Tisch said he was asked if he could host a ‘‘ major policy announcement’’ in Morrinsville, selecting CooperAitken’s business centre as the venue.