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West Coast broadband to extend further

30 May 2005

West Coast broadband to extend further

The government is committing a further $568,000 to extend broadband coverage under Project PROBE to communities in the West Coast, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

“Project PROBE is a nationwide project to roll out high speed internet access, aimed at lifting education and economic development in regional New Zealand," Trevor Mallard said.

"Our government is keen to break down the digital divide between metropolitan and rural communities by providing affordable and reliable broadband services.

“We want students and families, business people and farmers to have the same opportunities in education and in economic development, regardless of where they live and work.”

"This funding sees coverage extended to areas between Greymouth and Punikaiki and several remote areas including those around Hokitika and Haast.

“Through this extension broadband coverage for the West Coast increases from 84 per cent to over 90 percent , with the necessary rollout work to be completed by April 2006. This new work is as an extension to the existing Telecom PROBE contract and is being carried out in partnership with Venture West Coast."

Local MP Damien O'Connor welcomed the extra funding.

“All West Coast schools have access to broadband and now more homes, businesses and farms in the region will have the same access to high speed internet.

“This is good news for the West Coast as high speed internet opens up significant and exciting opportunities for schools, businesses and rural communities," Damian O'Connor said.

Other Project PROBE highlights: all 64 ICONZ Satellite schools now have access to broadband with Wireless extension work underway to extend this coverage to the surrounding communities including Haast all schools in the Wairarapa region have access to broadband – two months ahead of schedule, and the Northland region running at least one month ahead of schedule, bringing the expected time of completion for these schools to June this year.

“Some 95 per cent of New Zealand schools now have access to broadband and Project PROBE has made a significant contribution to this total. To date $42.7 million (GST exclusive) has been invested in Project PROBE,” Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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