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Support for National Broadband Conference 2004

8 November 2004 Media release

Support for National Broadband Conference 2004

The National Broadband Conference, currently being held in Hawkes Bay from the 7th to the 9th of November, has been supported by the government in partnership with Telecom, Cisco and up to a dozen other Information and Communication Technology industry organisations.

"Funding of $60,000 has been provided from the Ministry of Economic Development's Sector Initiatives Fund to help bring the main players in broadband technology together to discuss key issues around broadband,” the Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Jim Anderton, said today.

“Broadband and broadband applications are an essential part of our communications infrastructure and thus are a key economic driver in New Zealand. That is why the Labour Progressive government is keen to stimulate an understanding, sector by sector, cluster by cluster and region by region, of the ways high speed internet can be harnessed for national benefit.

"The Labour Progressive government is ensuring broadband reaches all our regions because good communications systems are as important as good transport infrastructure to promoting economic growth.

“All the contracts for Project Probe are now in place and the suppliers are busy ensuring schools can access broadband services (especially video conferencing), initially at 512Kbps (kilobytes per second) each way, but increasing to higher speeds in the future. It is expected that most schools will have services available by December 2004. The remainder, which are largely in remote areas, should get access in the first few months of 2005. As a result of the Probe initiative, residential and business customers in regional areas are also able to access broadband services," Jim Anderton said.

Key note speakers at the conference include the Hon David Cunliffe whose portfolios include Associate Minister for Information Technology. In his address Mr Cunliffe discussed feedback received on the Government’s draft Digital Strategy. Another keynote speaker, Bill St Arnaud, Senior Director Advanced Networks for CANARIE Inc. (Canada’s Advanced Internet Development Organization) has been responsible for the co-ordination and implementation of world’s first customer controlled optical network, CA*net4.

The National Broadband Conference is being organised again by TUANZ, the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand. Leaders and visionaries from various industry sectors have come together at the conference to discuss the best uses for broadband in New Zealand.

The TUANZ website has a special section on New Zealand focused sites that are already demonstrating the benefits of ICT applications and a status report on each sector’s progress in the digital economy. By the end of the conference information will be added including a list of opportunities and a detailed action plan for the future. TUANZ will continue to update the site and action plan on a quarterly basis through to the end of 2006.

Information about the conference can be found on the TUANZ Website: WWW.TUANZ.ORG.NZ

Sector Initiatives Fund

The purpose of the SIF is to provide support for industry projects that are consistent with economic, social and environmental objectives but cannot be funded through other government assistance programmes, and that priority for funding will be given to proposals that:

- Are identified as key contributors to the implementation of sector strategies being developed in partnership with industry, through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development;
- Are supported by key stakeholders such as industry and local government; and
- Have the potential for wider cross-industry application of benefits, for example infrastructure.

ENDS

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