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Broadband a priority for New Zealand’s regions

Broadband a priority for New Zealand’s regions

“Over half of New Zealand’s regions have identified broadband and information technology as a major impediment to their development,” Industry and Regional Development Minister Jim Anderton told a Telecommunications Users conference in Nelson today.

Jim Anderton addressing the TUANZ conference said that twelve out of twenty-three regions which have completed strategies under the Regional Partnerships Programme identified broadband access as a major issue.

“This was one of the three greatest concerns shared by regions, including Nelson, the other two were skills shortages and access to capital. This Labour Progressive Government is working on all three issues.

“In the budget this year the government announced we would spend tens of millions dollars to ensure that every remote community has access to high speed internet connections.

“We’re connecting up communities by extending broadband into every school in New Zealand by the end of 2004.

“The project is now well advanced, ‘Requests for Information’ have been received and last week an announcement was made that the firms which will be sent ‘Requests for Proposals’ at the end of this month have been selected.

“The government is working with private sector groups who have also indicated that they would benefit from wide broadband access,” said Jim Anderton.

The Regional Partnership Programme run by Industry New Zealand contributes funds for regions to develop strategies, and to build capacity to implement them (up to $100,000 for each stage). Further funding of up to $2 million, is available to contribute to major regional initiatives that come out of the strategies developed in the first two stages.

Earlier broadband statement:

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