Manawatu-Whanganui regional leaders have welcomed the government’s latest announcement of the roll out of ultra-fast broadband.
Improving digital connectivity is a key enabler in the Manawatu-Whanganui Economic Action Plan which is being implemented through Accelerate25. Areas set to benefit from new ultra-fast fibre services include parts of Palmerston North, Feilding, and a host of rural towns including Ashhurst, Foxton, Shannon, Bulls, Marton, Taihape, Ohakune, Raetihi, Taumarunui, Dannevirke, Pahiatua and Woodville.
Regional Council Chair and Accelerate25 Lead Team member Bruce Gordon says working with central government to enable digital services to the region has been a key part of Accelerate25.
"Adding so many rural towns to the network will help numerous businesses involved in some of the region’s key sectors, such as agriculture and tourism. It’s a great first step as it not only benefits those in the upgrade zones, but also unlocks potential for greater coverage in low speed or blackspot areas.
"Roll out will compliment the impressive digital connections already made in places like Whanganui," he says.
Mayor of Tararua, Tracey Collis, says she can’t wait to have the fibre installed in the district.
"The ability to transact business digitally is critical to us. Access to fibre has regularly been identified as a barrier to growth by our leading businesses and there are also significant social benefits.
"It is great to see the benefit of regions and central government working cooperatively," she says.
The government investment in ultra-fast broadband for roll out in Manawatu-Whanganui is nearly $32 million dollars, which is amongst the highest of regions in the country. The programme is scheduled to roll out between now and 2024.
Government is also working on a programme to improve rural connectivity and cell phone blackspots which was identified as another key enabler in the Regional Economic Action Plan. Regional leaders continue to push for improved rural connectivity ahead of any government announcements.