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Plans for Investment in Whangarei and Regional NZ

Media Release

Slingshot Announces Plans for Investment in Whangarei and Regional New Zealand

Unbundling of the local loop by the Government reinforces Slingshot’s commitment to invest in broadband and other innovative services for rural areas

New Zealand, Auckland – Tuesday May 9, 2006 - Slingshot, part of CallPlus New Zealand’s 100% kiwi owned and third largest full service telecommunications and internet company, has announced that the regulatory package for local loop unbundling will significantly benefit its customers in rural areas and provincial towns with the delivery of WiMax, broadband wireless technology.

In the Northern region, Slingshot has invested $500,000 to date and with the Government’s announcement Slingshot expects this investment to grow to $2,000,000 over the coming months. Whangarei will be the first region in New Zealand to have video on demand, a Northland free local calling area, along with national and international calls for five cents a minute.

“Our goal is to deliver to rural New Zealanders a level of service they haven’t been receiving from Telecom as we believe they have been badly neglected. Now there is competition in these areas this will force Telecom to invest otherwise they will lose their customers.”said Annette Presley co-founder of Slingshot.

“The most exciting part is that regional New Zealand will have the true option for their phone and Internet services. We will deliver broadband that will run at 10 megabits per second from launch and up to 50 megabits per second as the technology develops.”

Slingshot implemented a trial of WiMax at the end of 2005 in Kaikohe, Northland and Gulf Harbour to provide phone line, calling and internet services to the local residences with potential speeds of up to 50 megabits. It has some customers who live on boats and given the accessibility of this technology in rural areas it is going to be an area of large investment for Slingshot.

“We now need the government to drive Telecom to make their broadband pricing more attractive to allow competition to expand further into rural areas and bring greater coverage and competitive pricing to the rural sector,” said Presley. “The introduction of naked DSL and full local loop unbundling will level playing field with true competition, choice for products and the provision of services at competitive prices. The critical factor now is timing. We can’t afford to wait another two years as we are already lagging behind the rest of the developed world today.”

ENDS

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