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Ihug Moves On Digital Divide

NEWS RELEASE 2 November 2000

The gap is already closing on our so-called rural digital divide, according to New Zealand's second largest Internet service provider, Ihug.

Responding to a recent MAF study, which points to a growing divide between urban and rural dwellers, Ihug says its advanced technology is already delivering big benefits for people in remote areas.

Ihug Director Tim Wood says the answer lies in providing high-speed Internet access to outlying farms and settlements, through services like Ihug's Ultra.

Mr Wood says the new Ultra high-speed service is already proving popular in many rural settlements as well as a number of areas not serviced effectively by Telecom New Zealand.

"At present, many areas are poorly serviced by Telecom New Zealand, because of the high cost of building out services to these communities," he says.

"This is an issue the Government must address, to ensure all New Zealanders gain access to the new wave of broadband services arriving daily. In the meantime, Ihug has already built a nationwide wireless bridge to close the gap on the digital divide."

Ihug is using a high-speed satellite service to provide the inbound data stream to Internet users around NZ. The new service, Ultra, can be used anywhere in New Zealand as long as the customer has access to a phone line.

The initial popularity of Ultra resulted in a flood of inquires from new customers. The high demand caused an early backlog of installations, which has since been cleared.

New Zealand is not alone in considering ways of servicing remote areas. Rural Internet users in Australia face similar problems. And again, Ihug is providing the answer.

Ihug's Australian operation is about to aid frustrated communities in rural and outback areas. The company is to wholesale the Ultra service to its 100 Australian bandwidth customers (smaller Internet service providers).

The move will be operational from December, delivering high speed Internet access to Australia's remote areas, and allowing many of the country's smaller ISP's to compete with the larger Telco players in the new broadband markets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT Greg Ward Media Liaison Ihug Phone: (09) 521 2410 Mobile: 025 387 037 Email: greg.w@ihug.co.nz


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