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Information technology initiatives for East Coast

28 July 2000 Media Statement

Information technology initiatives for the East Coast

Chairman of the Tairawhiti Taskforce and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton has announced two initiatives to improve access to technology and the internet on East Coast.

The first involves the distribution of computers to the community. These computers have been provided from various government agencies such as the Department of Work and Income (DWI) and are surplus to their requirements.

"We will be distributing around 2000 computers to schools and community groups over the next few months," Jim Anderton said.

"The computers are available for schools and community groups to extend and improve their use of technology.

"The involvement of DWI is a great example of how we are looking at solving problems across the entire government. DWI had surplus computers and we have found a great way to utilise them.

"The second is a joint programme with Telecom to allow the community better access to the internet.

"Telecom is looking at extending their SeniorNet programme across the region. They are calling it CommunityNet and will be trialing two schemes in the Tairawhiti region.

"The CommunityNet model sees the community setting up groups to receive funding and computers. The Tairawhiti taskforce will provide accommodation and computers.

Each CommunityNet will be provided with a start up package of:
- 2 free phone lines and 2 years free phone rental
- $1,500 cash grant
- a free Xtra connection and free usage of Xtra for two years.

"The idea is that the CommunityNet centers will provide training and support for people in the region. They will introduce people to the internet and increase their confidence in using it.

"In addition the Taskforce congratulated Telecom on continuing investment in upgrading the region's telecommunications infrastructure. In the next financial year Telecom is investing $1.05 million in upgrading the their network.

"These community based initiatives are just the start. But they are a good start for the Tairawhiti area," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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