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Better Telecoms Service Promised For Rural Kiwis

January 14 2002

Website Takes Action To Solve Internet Problems For Farmers

Leading agricultural website has taken the first step towards delivering decent internet access to rural New Zealanders.

Fencepost and its parent company, Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, are advertising nationwide for expressions of interest from companies keen to provide high-tech alternatives to tired rural telephone lines.

The website has already had several "very solid proposals" from companies offering to provide state-of-the-art internet access to the majority of rural New Zealanders, says Fencepost acting chief executive officer Mike Ryan.

"Fonterra's objective is to help each and every dairy farmer achieve annual productivity increases of four per cent and one of the key ways to achieve this is improving the transfer of information and using interactive on-line tools and services through," he says. "Yet the inadequate internet access in rural areas is severely hindering our ability to do this.

"The feedback we are getting from our users is that they are absolutely fed up with the level of service they are getting. They face long delays, get cut off for no apparent reason and often the system is simply unavailable. What's more, every time another rural telephone line is connected, the system gets even more clogged."'s advertisements, which started at the weekend (subs Jan 12), call for expressions of interest from companies which can provide high speed internet access to all Fonterra dairy farmers, and almost all other rural dwellers, within a year. Fencepost also requires the company to supply of a range of telecommunications products in a package which will be both competitive and attractive to users.

"The proposals we already have in hand make it clear that there are some excellent new ideas and technology around that make rural connections economically viable," says Mike Ryan. "We are very keen to explore these and any other proposals which may come in, with the aim of finding a practical, efficient and long-term solution."

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