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Telecom To Spend $58 Million On Rural Network

Telecom To Spend $58 Million On Rural Network

Telecom will invest over $58 million on the rural telecommunications network in the financial year from July 2004, Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung announced at National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek today.

This is all part of Telecom’s broader commitment to ensuring rural New Zealand had a world class communications infrastructure, Ms Gattung said.

“In the past 10 years alone, Telecom has invested more than $350 million in building and improving the networks that provide provincial, rural and farming communities with phone, Internet and mobile services.

“In the financial year starting next month, we will be spending $58 million on our rural telecommunications network – on phone lines, mobile coverage and expanding broadband.”

As part of the capital investment, Telecom would be installing 350 new DSLAM “broadband booster boxes”, mainly in rural communities, to improve the capacity of local exchanges and increase the reach of its JetStream network.

Some of this development will be assisted by the Government’s Project Probe in which Telecom was an enthusiastic participant.

Ms Gattung said Telecom had already passed its target of having broadband Internet available to 80% of rural phone subscribers by the end of this year, announced at last year’s Fieldays, and the DSLAMs would help it reach its new goal of 90% coverage via Xtra JetStream and Xtra Wireless services by June 2005.

“We passed last year’s target for rural broadband coverage in April. We’re now aiming for 85 percent coverage via Xtra JetStream and Xtra Wireless by the end of this year, and 90 percent coverage by next June.

“Telecom has never been more excited about rural New Zealand,” Ms Gattung said. “There’s a rural revolution going on right now – in the form of broadband Internet - that is changing the way New Zealanders live and do business in the country, and we’re right at the heart of it.

“Broadband is a technology that can transform country life just as dramatically as the first telephones did. We’re going to ensure rural New Zealand, which is still the country’s economic backbone, sees all of its advantages.”

Information about broadband technologies:

Xtra JetStream: service comes via existing telephone lines, through a modem that plugs into the phone jack. You can talk on the phone or use a fax at the same time as the Internet connection is on.

Xtra Wireless: service is delivered in partnership with BCL, across the company’s TV transmission network and into customer premises via an aerial.

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