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Manukau's Broadband Business survey results

Media release 28 April 2004

Manukau City Council's Broadband Business survey results

Manukau City Council is well on the way to building a technologically 'smart city' with the latest developments in its citywide project.

Manukau Mayor, Sir Barry Curtis says, "As the first council in New Zealand to incorporate broadband requirements in its resource consent process for new developments, we are leading the way in creating a technologically competitive city for the future.

"This aligns with the project 'SmartManukau', led by Council Project Manager Dr Hanna Frederick, who has continued this quest for a 'smart city' by conducting a survey to identify the broadband access and connectivity in the rapidly developing employment centres of the Airport Business Park, Manukau Central and East Tamaki.

This project is crucial as broadband will be an essential part of the new town of Flat Bush, the first new town to be established in New Zealand over the last 20 years."

The survey, which is part of the third phase of work of Broadband needs for Manukau, was carried out to identify the requirements of three main concentrations of business in Manukau City that have high to medium potential demand for broadband. The results of this and recommendations for further action are to be presented for approval to Council's May Economic Development Committee meeting.

The 256 businesses which responded on their use of IT and the internet indicated they are generally well served with broadband infrastructure, with 59% in East Tamaki connected to broadband, 68% in Manukau Central and 80% in the Airport Business Park. However a key finding was more assistance is needed to determine its potential to achieve greater wealth, economic growth and export capabilities.

More than half indicated they wanted access to greater bandwidth but 63% were not willing to pay more. Two thirds of the businesses had a website or have been developing one. However 98% are connected to the internet and only 16% use the internet for ordering goods from suppliers.

The main reasons limiting the further development of Internet or broadband usage were security, cost, lack of staff with IT skills and uncertainty of benefits.

Dr Frederick says, "A key consideration I am recommending in my report to Council at our next Economic Development meeting is the need to discuss the possibility of a joint Manukau City Council and Telecom working party, to find a solution to connectivity issues raised by a number of businesses.

"Also that Council facilitates the provision of a competitive telecommunication environment by working with Telos on the further restructuring of the broadband tariff, so it is more financially viable to Manukau's large number of small to medium sized businesses."

Sir Barry concludes, "I am very impressed with the results Dr Frederick has achieved thus far in continuing to enthusiastically drive this project for our city. I am certain further education and assistance with these issues will convince our business community of the benefits which millions of companies around the world can attest to.

"These include a greater flexibility and speed in competing nationally and internationally; development of new products and services on broadband based applications; and enhanced economic growth through transferral of online information, thereby reducing time and costs.

"The benefits for the city include providing access to all residents to information that can provide them with valuable skills and enrich their lives, and it will also improve the desirability of Manukau as a business and residential location through the provision of leading edge telecommunications services."


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