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Govt Announcement Welcomed

May 5, 2006

Govt Announcement Welcomed

Waitakere Online has strongly endorsed the government’s announcement that internet services are going to become more competitive.

Waitakere Online (www.waitakereonline.co.nz) is an online community for Waitakere City residents and businesses. The portal provides a technological window into hundreds of local businesses, community organisations and services.

Chair of the Waitakere On-line editorial board, Andy Williamson, welcomes yesterday's announcement that the Government plans to regulate the broadband telecommunications sector.

“The change will reduce the cost of fast internet access and increase choice for business and residential consumers. Obviously that is a huge step forward in terms of home computer users, but just as importantly it will give a competitive advantage to businesses up and down the country. We are also pleased to see that, alongside regulation, Cabinet has agreed to extend Digital Strategy funding for remote and under-served communities. This will help ensure that all of us in Waitakere City- and particularly those in outlying areas like Laingholm, Parau and Karekare have access to broadband.”

Currently, New Zealand ranks near the bottom of the OECD countries for broadband adoption.

‘What comes next is that we have to ensure we all understand why broadband matters - because it does, "says Mr Williamson.

“It is clear from overseas experience that fast, affordable, internet is a catalyst for economic growth. In fact, it's a necessity not just for today's businesses but for tomorrow's. Fast internet access enhances our cultural, social and educational aspirations, helping us and our children to build a better future. Straight away, broadband enables teleworking - a simple and effective solution to rising fuel costs and congestion.”

Waitakere Online is supported by Waitakere City Council and was established in 2004 as part of the City’s Digital City strategy. A key part of that strategy is the ability for all residents, businesses and communities in Waitakere City, to have access to a broadband connection.

Ends

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