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Fast broadband boost for Great Barrier Island

04 Feb 2013

The government has improved rural connectivity on Great Barrier Island, allowing residents, businesses and tourists to abandon frustrating dial-up speeds and access faster technology.

Officially launched by Prime Minister John Key last week, the island's first wireless broadband tower is part of the government’s $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

“Being able to access quality broadband and cell phone coverage on the island is essential for attracting new businesses and providing opportunities for residents to remain living and working on the island,” says Amy Adams, Communications and Information Technology minister.

“The new infrastructure will make it much easier for local businesses to interact with customers in other parts of New Zealand or overseas, and supports increased tourism, which means more jobs and more opportunities for the island’s residents.”

The investment also means the island’s three schools can connect to broadband, providing access to the best online teaching resources.

“The schools’ location is no longer a barrier to learning," Adams says.

"Students and teachers will be able to draw on the best educational materials available, and easily connect with schools in other parts of the country.”

Combined with the government’s $1.35 billion Ultra-Fast Broadband programme for urban areas, 97.8% of New Zealanders will have access to faster broadband.

By the middle of this year, about 300,000 businesses and homes will be able to connect to ultra-fast broadband, and about 1300 schools and 30 hospitals will have fibre to the gate.

In addition, almost 100,000 rural homes and businesses are expected to have access to faster broadband.