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Cogent Delivers A New Era Of Govt Communications

18 April 2002

Cogent Delivers A New Era Of Communications For Government

Today for the first time, a Government Select Committee will use state-of-the-art video conferencing systems to enable people outside of Wellington to have their views heard by Parliament.

It will be used during a select committee hearing from 10.00 am when Professor Jane Kelsey of the University of Auckland gives a submission to the Standing Orders Committee.

A demonstration run of the system was carried out yesterday with The Speaker of the House and parliamentary officials speaking to the Dunedin Community Law centre, which has promoted the idea.

This is the first time this technology has been used for committee hearings, and represents an important step towards using technology to make Parliament more accessible to the New Zealand public.

As chosen supplier for the three-month trial, Cogent Communications installed a state-of-the-art Tandberg 6000 system that will potentially give the ability to link to a number of facilities around the country from the select committee room at Parliament House. Unlike previous video conferencing systems the system provides real-time images with no delays or gaps in the images.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with parliament to establish this videoconferencing trial for parliamentary select committees” Grant Shaw, Cogent’s Videoconferencing Manager said.

“It is particularly exciting to see this technology used to enhance and expand their existing processes by providing vital face-to-face communication between the committees and those making submissions, regardless of the physical distance between them”

“For those making submissions it will essentially be like being there in person”, Mr Shaw said.

He said Cogent Communication’s nationwide presence was essential in ensuring that the trial’s goal of participation from virtually anywhere in New Zealand is achieved.

The Speaker, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt said video conferencing offers the possibility for people who live out of Wellington to make submissions to select committees without the cost of travelling to the capital.

"Select committees are an essential part of our democratic process and the public's participation in them is an important part of their deliberations. Any measure which improves public accessibility to select committees is welcomed."

Cogent Communications and U-Bix Document Solutions are both owned by Hanover Group, the country's largest privately owned finance group with assets of over $650 million, annual revenue of $200 million, and 600 employees. Cogent Communications specialises in the sale and support of a number of telecommunication solutions including: Office Phone Systems, Cordless Telephony, Voice & Data Solutions, Structured Networks, Video Conferencing, Call Centres and Voice Messaging

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