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Farewell TSO. Satellite next step for rural

Media Release
29 September 2009

Attention: Business, Rural, IT reporters

Farewell TSO. Satellite next step for rural

Farmside CEO, Tony Baird today welcomed the Communications and Information Minister, Steven Joyce’s reform of the Telecommunications Services Obligation and establishment of a transparent industry levy that focuses on developing rural telecommunications.

Farmside also note and supports the continuation of free local calling as part of the requirement recognising the importance of connecting rural communities by voice and broadband.

“This move by the minister will better suit the needs of our high-yield primary sector,” says Baird. “It will create a level playing field which is transparent and competitive, to drive the delivery of fast broadband to rural communities that are surviving on twentieth century copper”.

Farmside, one of New Zealand’s leading satellite broadband suppliers which currently connects 10,000 customers, is pleased the minister’s plans present a new opportunity for satellite to be made available for people in remote New Zealand, through the provision of grants for the upfront costs of equipment and installation.

Baird also sent a stark reminder today that with a government commitment of approximately $50 million Farmside could connect 50,000 rural properties within the year through existing satellite technology.

Despite this range of growing demands and the isolation and geographical challenges associated with supplying many rural properties, the focus is still on supplying through fibre networks.

Baird highlights, laying fibre to some remote areas is deemed to be “commercially non viable” and it will take many years to complete. Satellite is available to 100% per cent of New Zealand today, no matter how remote and rugged the farm.

“Satellite is a broadband simple solution to a tough national issue and as such should form part of the Broadband Initiative. Especially in underserved rural areas where it is economically unjustified to provide fibre solution”.

Incorporating satellite into the government’s broadband investment initiative is the next positive step for Joyce to get rural people getting online today with an affordable, reliable broadband solution today.


ENDS

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