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Broadband boost for Little River

Broadband boost for Little River

The arrival of broadband in the Banks Peninsula settlement of Little River has been touted by local business leaders as a spur for economic development and growth.

The settlement’s telephone network was upgraded last month (subs – February) to carry Telecom’s broadband service JetStream, in response to local demand.

Little River Gallery owners Stuart and Angela Wright-Stow say JetStream will make the town more attractive for entrepreneurs, residents and investors.

“Little River is located halfway between Christchurch and its playground of Akaroa,” he says.

“It combines a cosmopolitan situation with a small town, making it an attractive tourist stop-off, and now it has a modern communication infrastructure which can only add to its appeal.”

Mr Wright-Stow says JetStream will make running his business more efficient.

“A lot of the artists we display through the gallery use email for transferring images and the amount of time taken to get through those on a dial-up connection can be prohibitive,” he says.

JetStream Full Speed has download speeds up to 50 times faster than a standard dial-up connection. It also uses technology allowing voice and data traffic to pass simultaneously across a single telephone line, meaning users can use the Internet and talk on the phone or process EFTPOS transactions at the same time.

Mr Wright-Stow said he elected not to put in a second line for the Internet, preferring to wait until JetStream became available.

“JetStream will get our Internet, EFTPOS and telephone working with a bit more synergy.”

The upgrade was driven by a Banks Peninsula District Council project to join its Little River office and library to a Private Office data network that already linked the council’s other regional sites. The Private Office network uses Telecom’s secure private IP (Internet Protocol) network rather than the public Internet to facilitate the sharing of databases and the easy transfer of emails and documents between offices in different locations.

Banks Peninsula Mayor Bob Parker says broadband access will open up opportunities for Little River businesses and provide a boost for the entire community.

“Broadband is an essential tool in the modern business world and its importance to Little River businesses, and therefore the community as a whole, cannot be overstated.”

Telecom’s business case for supplying JetStream to Little River was strengthened when Telecom received a strong response from local ratepayers after writing to them last year to gauge interest in its broadband service.

Telecom Southern Regional Manager Paul Deavoll says the combination of strong community interest and the council’s desire to extend its Private Office network enabled the upgrade to proceed.

“The Little River JetStream upgrade is a great example of Telecom working with local communities to extend broadband services.

“Broadband access is integral to the livelihood and lifeblood of New Zealand and we are excited to be doing our part in supporting the infrastructure of Little River.”

About 98 per cent of businesses and 93 per cent of residents in Canterbury can access Telecom’s JetStream service. Banks Peninsula exchanges in Governor’s Bay and Diamond Harbour were upgraded to carry JetStream last December. JetStream is also available in Lyttleton and Akaroa.

Telecom, in conjunction with BCL, has also introduced Xtra Wireless, which covers many customers who are beyond the reach of Telecom’s fixed line network. In future, satellite services will be offered, with the aim of providing New Zealand with 100 per cent broadband coverage.

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