17 April, 2012
RBI extended to remote schools, hospitals and libraries
Some of the most remote schools in New Zealand, as well as rural hospitals and libraries can now look forward to faster broadband after the Government selected its preferred providers for the final Rural Broadband Initiative contracts, worth $14.4 million.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says the announcement signals the second and final phase of the Government's $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
The contracts provide for 193 provincial schools, 183 rural public libraries, 37 rural hospitals and ten Health Centres receiving fibre connections. In addition, 57 remote schools will be upgraded to faster broadband, capable of being used for the Network for Learning.
“The Government promised that no school would miss out on faster broadband and I’m delighted that we are delivering on that promise,” Ms Adams says.
The RBI recognises the huge importance of the rural sector to New Zealand's economy.
"While good progress has been made in major cities upgrading broadband availability, I have long advocated the need to bring faster broadband and better connectivity to rural communities. I’m equally convinced of the benefits it will bring to other sectors of our economy and society.
"Ensuring rural New Zealand is well connected with the latest technology is a key part of the Government's push to lift productivity and global competitiveness and to drive economic growth that benefits all New Zealanders."
Chorus and Network Tasman will deploy fibre to provincial schools, rural hospitals, Health Centres and public libraries, worth $12 million.
Network Tasman will focus on roll out in Wakefield, Mapua, Motueka and Picton.
A further $2.4 million has been awarded to connect 57 remote schools and their surrounding communities with fast wireless broadband. Inspire.net, Gisborne.net, Chorus and Araneo have been selected to do this work.
In addition to the 57 remote schools, the Government has previously announced a special grant to improve telecommunications services on the Chatham Islands. A condition of this grant is that the three schools located on the islands will receive enhanced satellite broadband.