Surprise Win For Rural Internet Pioneer
Taranaki wireless broadband pioneer Matt Harrison has been elected to the board of TUANZ, the influential tech users industry group.
As one of two new regional members of the board of 10, Harrison says his “somewhat surprising election” reflects the new importance TUANZ is placing on making sure rural New Zealanders are included in its goal of making New Zealand one of the top 10 digital countries worldwide by 2030.
The election has come as a surprise for Harrison, the managing director of Primo. He says he was up against 15 other strong candidates from the telco industry, almost all of whom were from large companies in the main centres. He says being a regional internet provider and an advocate for rural users may have swung the vote his way.
“This shows me that there is strong support from the whole industry for what we are doing at Primo in providing connections to rural people who would otherwise miss out on having a quality internet link.”
Harrison and his team at New Plymouth-based Primo have created a wireless network around Taranaki which gives affordable broadband access to many of the remotest farms and communities and now has more than 4500 customers.
He says getting people access to the Internet is vital for the whole country and reflects his love of technology and the opportunities it creates.
“I have turned my passion and thirst for bringing new technology and ideas to life while working to close the rural and urban digital divides in Taranaki and I have been a big supporter for this happening all around New Zealand.
“We have built literal digital highways into the heartland of Taranaki, and we have seen the very real boost this has given to people.”
Harrison, who lives on a rural property in Lepperton with partner Jasmine and his three young daughters, says he has a good insight into the challenges of getting the internet into rural homes, as well as the many opportunities it offers.