Rural Taranaki’s Internet services will be getting a major upgrade after the Government announced a multimillion dollar scheme to boost rural broadband.
Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications David Clark has announced $47m will be spent on upgrading rural broadband throughout New Zealand.
The minister says The Rural Capacity Upgrade (RCU) will see existing cell towers upgraded and new towers built in rural areas as well as upgrades for rural wireless networks, fibre and other technologies.
Primo’s Matt Harrison welcomed the news saying it will help the wireless broadband side of the company provide an even better service to its rural customers.
“We pioneered getting broadband into Taranaki’s rural communities and this will mean we have more resources to lift capacity,” he says.
“We have already worked closely with the Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to roll out broadband to isolated farms and communities. It’s been a great programme that’s benefited many of our farmers, marae and rural workers.”
Primo will be one of 13 private sector contractors to carry out the work that is being funded from the Government’s COVID Response and Recovery Fund.
“By the end of 2024 around 47,000 rural households and businesses should experience faster internet speeds and better reception than they do right now,” Mr Clark says.
He says the pandemic has shown that having reliable internet has been vital during the pandemic to allow people to work, learn and socialise from home.
“Having been through lockdowns, it’s clear some rural networks had real trouble adapting to the extra usage.
“Government’s actions to protect lives and livelihoods throughout this pandemic has proven to be the best economic decision. However, today’s announcement will further help us secure our economic recovery.
“With these upgrades, rural businesses will have the tools to be more innovative and productive. We can also improve health and safety for New Zealanders and their families through remote health consultations, facilitate remote learning and help maintain social and family connections.
“For those businesses, farms, marae, and households that aren’t captured by current rural broadband initiatives, such as the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, the initiative launched today will be of great benefit.”
By the end of 2024, 99.8 percent of New Zealanders should have had an improvement to their broadband services.