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Taranaki Broadband Community Partnership Welcomed

17 July, 2002

Swain welcomes Taranaki Broadband Community Partnership

Minister of Communications Paul Swain welcomed the launch of the Taranaki Broadband Community Partnership today. “I’m delighted to be here today to help launch this exciting initiative. I want to congratulate the New Plymouth, Stratford and South Taranaki councils was well as the regional development agencies and Telecom, who have all co-operated on the project amd made it a reality.

“Today the first of 15 Taranaki telephone exchanges, which have been upgraded to handle broadband internet, are being switched on. Over the next few months all of the 15 will be done, and that will mean 83% of the community has access to broadband. That’s up from just 27% - in New Plymouth – today. In addition all secondary schools and 75% of primary schools will have access.

Taranaki was one of five regional pilots, launched last year, aimed at coming up with innovative ways to extend broadband into regional New Zealand, currently poorly served by telecommunications companies, said Mr Swain. In all $300,000 was allocated between the five pilots.

“The five pilot projects have been highly successful in providing information about the impact of access to broadband and possible technology options,” said Mr Swain. “

Following on from the pilots, the Minister of Finance announced in this year’s Budget that tens of millions of dollars have been set aside over two years for a major initiative to introduce broadband technology throughout New Zealand. The project, now known as PROBE, is funded jointly through the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Economic Development and will build on the regional experiences.
There will be 14 regional broadband tenders.

“The Taranaki initiative is very welcome, making a substantial contribution to extending broadband access in the region. The government still has the objective of ensuring that all schools can access broadband. Therefore, to the extent that the agreement with the Telecom/BCL consortium does not fully meet the Government's requirements, it is proposed to continue to issue an RFI for Taranaki, but adjusted to take account of the current agreement,” said Mr Swain


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