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Canterbury To Benefit From Wireless Broadband

13 October 2003


Rural Canterbury is set to benefit from millions of dollars of investment in broadband Internet access as a result of the Government's Project PROBE.

"This investment will be returned many times over as a result of the educational, community and business benefits resulting from broadband Internet access in rural Canterbury," says Paddy Clifford, Chairman of the Canterbury Broadband Taskforce and Chief Executive of the Hurunui District Council."

"We are very excited about the government's support to roll out broadband in our region and we are pleased that Woosh Wireless has been selected as the preferred supplier."

"Our rural schools, businesses and communities need this essential infrastructure in place for Canterbury's future well-being. Canterbury needs a regional Broadband Internet network to ensure continued strong economic growth and provide support for our schools, medical centres and communities."

The Broadband Taskforce, which has members from throughout Canterbury representing councils, businesses, schools and farmers was formed to provide input to the Government's regional Broadband rollout, Project PROBE.

"In addition to broadband there will be free telephone toll calling throughout Canterbury through Woosh Wireless. This is a major breakthrough for our rural communities," says Paddy Clifford

David Rycroft, Project Manager for the Canterbury Broadband Taskforce and Economic Development Manager at Canterbury Development Corporation, says that "businesses and communities all over rural Canterbury are constrained by the lack of reliable, fast Internet access."

"Fixing this problem will have a major positive impact on the whole Canterbury economy," says David, "with the benefits of widespread broadband access likely to provide a real impetus to economic growth in coming years."

Cities and major urban areas are generally well served by Internet providers, but vast areas of Canterbury have poor or no effective Internet access. The Internet and email are now essential in modern marketing, however, with customers expecting digital images and other information on request.

If agribusinesses, fishing companies, tourism operators, manufacturers and other businesses are unable to provide this information, they miss out on potential sales and on premium prices, which are often available only to the nimble in today's super-competitive market-place.

"This is the 21st century equivalent to building New Zealand's road, rail and port network. It is not just about economic growth, but about improving education and rural health, and about changing the way we do things, says Mr Clifford.

"The broadband network will offer more than just high-speed Internet access, but a whole variety of communication, education, entertainment, and business services, which is what will make it economically viable."

He said that the Canterbury Broadband Taskforce will now be working closely with Project PROBE and Woosh Wireless as to the details of the rollout for Canterbury.


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