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Partnership Aims To Help Bridge Digital Divide

24 November


Telecom New Zealand Ltd and Ihug are working in partnership with the Government to help Wairoa people connect to the 21st century.

The two companies have installed a high-speed Internet connection using a satellite link at "Wairoa-dot-com", the town's new community Internet hub.

Telecom is also providing free phone lines, access to Xtra, training support and a start-up cash grant.

The hub is using computers supplied by the Government through the Tairawhiti Development Taskforce, and also has received donations and other support from local businesses and the Wairoa community.

Telecom's General Manager of Government and Industry Relations, Bruce Parkes, says Telecom is delighted to be involved with Wairoa-dot-com, as a trial of new ways to help more New Zealanders become part of the digital revolution.

"For the sake of New Zealand's future, it's important that we don't allow a digital divide to develop. It's our view that there is no "one size fits all" for providing access to the Internet. We see the way forward lying in partnerships between government, business and the community to find the best option for each situation.

"We're delighted to be working with Ihug to test out the Ultra high speed Internet connection," says Mr Parkes.

Ihug's Tim Wood says “this initiative really shows that working together and sharing our related skills can provide great benefits for New Zealanders."

"We're at the point where all of us, whether we live in the country or the city, can have access to both faster Internet and emerging technologies. That’s very good going for a small country which has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world but some of the most challenging terrain to deliver services over," says Mr Wood.

"Ihug is excited and pleased to be working with Telecom and the Government to solve these issues, today," says Mr Wood.

Ultra uses a satellite link to download data from the Internet at high speed. It uses a phone line for the upstream link, for sending requests for data.

"The service represents an excellent way to get a fast Internet service over existing phone lines without having to build a new network. As such, this may be a good option for many parts of heartland New Zealand," said Mr Parkes.

"We look forward to working with the Wairoa community to see how the service operates." Mr Parkes congratulated the Wairoa people involved in getting the Internet hub up and running.


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