Council broadband bid ‘solid’

The Waikato District Council (WDC) is confident it has made a solid bid for additional Government funding to expand ultra-fast broadband in its communities.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recently announced it would spend an additional $360 million to extend its two flagship broadband initiatives – Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative – and establish a new initiative to expand mobile coverage.

Waikato residents took part in an online survey about their broadband access and use to help the council mount its case.

WDC feels the submission it presented to MBIE will ensure its communities are on the list for expanded broadband.

Strategy and Support General Manager Tony Whittaker said the council presented a “solid proposal” when registrations of interest closed on July 3.

The submission included comprehensive information on the district’s economic development, socio economic trends, employment, and current and projected population trends.

It also included supporting documents from community groups, committees and 536 responses from the district-wide survey with information about the respondents’ age, their communities, the reliability of their current broadband, and how they use their internet or broadband.

Fifty-four per cent of respondents were aged between 35 and 54 and 78% said their broadband service could be better.

Whittaker said the next step was to submit a Digital Enablement Plan which provided detail on the council’s commitments to reducing costs, regulatory barriers, demand side risks and other factors associated with the roll out of ultra-fast broadband, the rural fibre initiative and mobile infrastructure.

One Gordonton respondent said “We have tried a modem a couple of times with no luck currently use hot spot on iPhones but that is not ideal for long term” and others noted slow internet speeds at night.

A copy of the full report is available here on the WDC website.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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