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Broadband Comes To The King Country

Broadband Comes To The King Country

The Lines Company and Counties Power announced today the signing of a Joint Venture Agreement with the intent to rollout a Wired Country broadband network in The Lines Company home area. The network will initially deliver affordable high-speed Internet and telephone services to businesses and homes in and around Te Kuiti and Otorohanga. It is then planned to target Waitomo, Taumarunui, Ohakune, Turangi and National Park Villages followed by Otorohanga, Ruapehu and Taupo districts if the expected take-up of service occurs.

The Lines Company Chief Executive John Anderson said that bringing broadband to the rural community would mean that local businesses would not be forced to relocate in order to keep up with new technology and remain competitive in both the national and international market place. There was also a clear demand from the agriculture community to access new services which only high speed broadband would bring.

A tender had been submitted under Project PROBE with the Ministry of Education. If the tender was successful, then most of our rural communities should be able to access high speed internet. If unsuccessful, then access will be limited to those areas where it is economic. Mr Anderson said that he would like to see the first customers using the new services by November 2003.

The 50:50 joint venture will use the experience gained by Counties Power recently building its own broadband network in Franklin and Papakura Districts to ensure rapid system design, equipment purchase and roll-out can be achieved. Counties Power CEO Neil Simmonds said that they had worked with The Lines Company on several projects over the last year or two and he had found the relationship between the two companies to be excellent. He was pleased that The Lines Company had bought into the whole open access, low cost model of Wired Country. Simmonds said, “It is interesting to notice that in many parts of the world community broadband projects are being driven by rural communities first.”

The companies expect most customers would access their chosen retailers using 3.5 GHz wireless connections. This will provide excellent value in rural as well as urban areas.

ENDS

About The Lines Company

The Lines Company (“TLC”) is a community owned lines company that conveys electricity to customers using its lines infrastructure in the King Country. TLC’s area covers 13,700 km2 and is the largest network area in New Zealand that doesn’t have a major urban centre (4,500 kilometres of line). This makes TLC specialists in providing power to out of the way places, including the highest reticulated points in New Zealand (the Turoa and Whakapapa skifields on Mount Ruapehu). With its head office situated in Te Kuiti, The Lines Company has around 22,000 customers, including domestic consumers and holiday homeowners through to major industries like BHP NZ Steel and McDonald’s Lime.

About Counties Power

Based in the Franklin and Papakura Districts, Counties Power is one of New Zealand’s most progressive electricity distributors, supplying its lines to a number of retailers throughout the Counties area.

Owning, managing and maintaining an extensive electricity distribution network comprising over 3,000 kilometres of lines, Counties Power currently supplies electricity to more than 25,000 residents and businesses in the local area.

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