Ul­tra-fast web con­nec­tion set for ru­ral towns

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

‘‘Over­all this is one of the big­gest in­fra­struc­ture projects ever un­der­taken in New Zealand.’’

Horowhenua’s small­est towns are get­ting a boost with the Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment to roll out more ul­tra-fast broad­band.

Waikawa Beach, Waitarere, Ohau and Manakau are some of the towns that will ben­e­fit from the ex­ten­sion, as well as towns in Kapiti, in­clud­ing Peka Peka, Te Horo, Otai­hanga.

Otaki MP Nathan Guy said the roll­out in Para­pa­raumu and Levin was very suc­cess­ful and it was great news to have it ex­tended to peo­ple liv­ing in smaller ar­eas. ‘‘Fast and re­li­able in­ter­net is be­com­ing es­sen­tial in the 21st cen­tury.’’

Be­ing able to con­nect busi­nesses with each other and the rest of the world would be a real boost to the re­gion, Guy said.

‘‘Over­all this is one of the big­gest in­fra­struc­ture projects ever un­der­taken in New Zealand with more than $2 bil­lion to pro­vide ac­cess to world-class broad­band.’’

The roll­out is part of the Gov­ern­ment’s $270 mil­lion in­vest­ment to com­plete the en­tire ul­tra­fast broad­band net­work by the end of 2022.

Levin got ul­tra-fast broad­band mid-2017 and an an­nounced was made in January 2017 that Fox­ton, Fox­ton Beach and Shan­non would also get ul­tra-fast broad­band.

Horowhenua Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Board mem­ber Antony Young said build­ing and strength­en­ing broad­band ca­pa­bil­ity across the district would widen eco­nomic pros­per­ity, so­cial well­be­ing and drive ed­u­ca­tion equal­ity.

Horowhenua’s pop­u­la­tion was grow­ing so bet­ter broad­band would en­able busi­nesses, in­clud­ing small en­ter­prises to flour­ish, Young said. In turn, this would at­tract more busi­nesses, he said.

The Horowhenua Cul­ture and Com­mu­nity Cen­tre was an ex­am­ple of ul­tra-fast broad­band en­abling ac­cess to the in­ter­net for a range of groups in­clud­ing older peo­ple, so­cially-iso­lated peo­ple, youth and jobseekers, Young said.

The Gov­ern­ment is also in­vest­ing up to $140m to ex­tend ru­ral broad­band cov­er­age and to pro­vide mo­bile cov­er­age in black spots to 1000 kilo­me­tres of state high­ways.

The Ruapehu district will also ben­e­fit from the lat­est roll­out an­nounce­ment.

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron said im­proved mo­bile and broad­band ser­vices would mean bet­ter vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ences and the op­por­tu­nity for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses to take full ad­van­tage of bet­ter con­nec­tion.

Hori­zons Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael McCart­ney said there was good progress be­ing made but there still needed to be more cov­er­age in ru­ral ar­eas.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/STUFF

Waitarere Beach is one of the small Horowhenua towns set to get ul­tra-fast broad­band.

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