Northland gears up for bid to extend high-speed broadband, cellphone coverage

Posted on May 21, 2015

Northlanders are being asked to provide their ideas and insights to assist the region’s bid for a share of up to $360 million in Government funding to extend high-speed broadband and improve cellphone coverage.

Regional economic development agency Northland Inc is co-ordinating a Northland-wide response – on behalf of the region’s four councils and in partnership with Maori – to the Government’s call for interest in being part of the next stage of the high-speed broadband rollout. This has the objective of bringing broadband to 80 percent of New Zealanders.

In Northland, the funding has the potential to accelerate the delivery of ultrafast broadband to more towns and faster broadband to rural areas, as well as improving mobile coverage along State Highways and in popular tourist areas to reduce ‘black spots’.

“The Government is looking for proposals that demonstrate a clearly co-ordinated regional approach, including support from councils and collaboration amongst telecommunications providers,” says Northland Inc CEO David Wilson.

“Another key factor is the strength of consumer demand, so one of our first steps is to hear from Northland communities about the ways they could take advantage of better broadband and phone coverage and the benefits it would provide.

“For some, this will mean new business opportunities but we’re just as interested in hearing from the Northland residents who might simply be able to carry out more of their everyday lives online if faster broadband is made available.”