Councils deliver better broadband for Northlanders

1 Feb 2017, 11:56 AM

Northland councils are welcoming a $33.8 million Government investment that will give more Northlanders access to ultra-fast broadband.

Minister for Communications Hon Simon Bridges announced last week that 21 Northland communities will receive ultra-fast broadband fibre under its Rural Broadband Initiative 2 (RBI2), giving 53.5% of Northlanders access to ultra-fast broadband by the end of 2023.  They are:

Far North District
Ahipara, Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Moerewa, Paihia, Russell and Taipa-Mangonui

Whangarei District
Hikurangi, Marsden Point/One Tree Point, Ruakaka, Waipu and Whangarei Fringe-Waikaraka

Kaipara District
Dargaville, Kaiwaka, Mangawhai Heads, Mangawhai Village, Maungaturoto, Paparoa and Ruawai

The 21 communities include six communities (Ahipara, Mangawhai Village, Paparoa, Ruakaka, Russell and Waipu) that weren’t among the 15 towns that Northland councils recommended in a joint registration of interest funded by the Northland Regional Council and Northland Inc.  Kaeo, Rawene and Ngunguru were included in the registration of interest, but didn’t make the Government’s shortlist.

Northland Regional Council Chairman Bill Shepherd says the investment is a big step towards 100% connectivity in Northland.

“I am very pleased that Northland councils have been able to deliver this result for Northlanders by working together and advocating Northland’s needs with one voice.”

Far North Mayor John Carter says, while it is great that nine Far North communities will get ultra-fast broadband, the District can’t wait six years for faster internet.

“It is good that Northland is ahead of 10 other regions in the queue for ultra-fast broadband.  However, 2023 is not soon enough.”

He also notes that many rural communities won't get broadband under RBI2.

"We remain committed to working with communities that weren't chosen and will work with them to find broadband solutions that meet their needs."

His Council is developing a digital infrastructure and solutions report that will identity what investment is needed to improve broadband and cellular coverage in the District.

"Our goal is 100% connectivity, 100% opportunity and no-one left behind."

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai is pleased that satellite communities of Whangarei will enjoy the benefits of ultra-fast broadband, which was made available to households and businesses in the city under the UFB1 programme.

"Ultra-fast broadband improves business productivity and makes videoconferencing a viable means of communication in the region. We hope for success with the region's Rural Broadband Initiative 2 (RBI2) and Mobile Blackspot Fund applications."

Kaipara Mayor Greg Gent welcomes the news that most communities in Kaipara will get ultra-fast broadband.

"Digital infrastructure is critical to economic development, so this investment is great news for Kaipara and Northland's economy."