Improving rural connections
Poor internet coverage in rural communities has a far more damaging effect than people just not being able to log on.
There are still many parts of Southland that do not have good or reliable coverage, and that is putting those communities at a disadvantage for social connection and business dealings.
On Tuesday, the travelling NEThui roadshow will be in Invercargill and will try to address issues with technology and how it affects the south.
NEThui Southland programme chair Stu Fleming said the rural connectivity panel would discuss real solutions for rural communities.
‘‘That’s going to be making those issues very visible and highlighting that they have real problems that need real solutions.’’
It was an important discussion to have because the future of technology was affecting how people interacted with their communities, Fleming said.
‘‘If the community has bad or limited internet, then their community engagement and involvement is affected as well.’’
Wyndham residents have been outspoken in the past about how a poor internet connection makes it tough for businesses, and Kennington residents have been demanding better internet access.
The Kennington residents say the community as a whole would like fibre broadband, as a community not having access to faster internet is causing real damage.
It is the first time the hui has come to Southland.
‘‘NEThui is a very strong forum, it has always been offered at a national level. Shifting the forum to the regional forum means we get a more diverse discussion,’’ Fleming said.
Connection won’t be the only focus at the hui. It will also look at how people will use technology in the future.
‘‘It’s not enough to address a problem at just the technology level.’’
On the panel will be Labour MP Dr Liz Craig, VelocityNet managing director Trevor Fulton, Rural Connectivity Group engagement manager Caitlin Metz, and Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand chief executive Craig Young.
NEThui Southland team Adina McDowell, Bridget Napier and programme chair Stu Fleming ahead of the forum on Tuesday.