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Govt broadband scheme slammed by regions

Clare Curran
ICT Spokesperson

21 October 2015

Govt broadband scheme slammed by regions

The Government’s rural broadband initiative is failing the regions and prompting an outcry among local mayors, councils, National MPs, Fonterra and Federated Farmers, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today.

“Rural New Zealand is being left behind in the broadband race. The figures from council surveys are truly astonishing.

“In Huntly household internet access is 44 per cent. In Western Bay of Plenty, 72 per cent say it’s not fast enough or reliable enough for their needs. In Kaitaia, internet penetration is just 49 per cent. The data for Ruapehu is too unreliable as many people could not even load the test.

“Only 14 per cent of people in Northland are satisfied with their internet with one person saying they can’t even load the NZ Herald website.

“As the Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says: ‘Internet speed in these areas is woefully inadequate… This situation is a barrier to economic growth and creates an irrational digital divide between our central business district and productive rural area’.

“Even National’s Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says: ‘Some rural schools have little to no access via modern communication systems. I say little to no, as like their neighbours, if they climb a platform, stand on one leg and hold their mobile high enough they may, just may, receive a level one signal.’

“And National’s Todd Barclay says: ‘internet connections are slow and unreliable, and directly impact their ability to run their businesses’.

“Federated Farmers has complained about poor service in their Taranaki heartland and Fonterra has said poor internet speed constrains the ability of staff to work remotely and attract talent to remote towns or locations.

“This is simply not good enough. Over $300 million has been spent on the RBI so far and the next $100 million is being delayed until the never-never. It’s time Amy Adams stood up for regional New Zealand,” says Clare Curran

ENDS

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