The second phase of the government's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative is underway, with Hikurangi and Hokitika the lucky first towns to benefit.
In January this year, the government announced an investment of $300 million to extend UFB to another 423,000 New Zealanders across a further 151 towns.
“Having access to fast and reliable broadband is critical for regional towns like Hikurangi and Hokitika,” Communications Minister, Simon Bridges.
“Through the Government's Regional Growth Programme, both Northland and the West Coast have identified having access to the same world-class broadband as Kiwis living in other centres as vital to economic growth.
Chorus general manager of infrastructure, Ed Beattie says they're excited to be taking the first step to bringing world-class connectivity to Hokitika.
“Fibre provides the broadband equivalent of an autobahn right to the door of homes and businesses, and it will future-proof Hokitika for the anticipated continued growth in data consumption for generations to come,” says Beattie.
According to Bridges, the build in Hokitika will be completed early next year, providing an additional 3,200 people across more than 1,500 premises in the area with access to UFB.
“The Government has invested around $2.5 million to deliver UFB to Hokitika. Under the extension to the programme, fibre deployment is also planned for Reefton, Westport and Runanga. Greymouth already has access to UFB,” Bridges says.
“By the end of 2019, more than 18,000 people – or 53 per cent of the West Coast's population – will be able to access faster, more reliable broadband.
The build in Hikurangi is expected to be completed later this year, providing an additional 1,830 people across more than 550 premises with access to fibre. By the end of 2023, the government expects more than 94,000 people – or 54 per cent of Northland's population – will be able to access UFB.
Westland Mayor, Bruce Smith is delight that Hokitika has been chosen as one of the first cabs off the rank for the second phase of the UFB initiative.
“Our major industries such as the Dairy Company, Silverfern Farms and many local IT businesses were delighted to be informed of the commencement of the build, Smith says.
“It is also great to see Chorus using local contractors for the majority of the build.