Rural Broadband demands a step change

Press Release – Federated Farmers

Following recent media speculation on the outcome of the $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), Federated Farmers is challenging the initiative to ensure it delivers radically improved broadband for over one million New Zealanders “The Government …


Rural Broadband demands a step change to deliver future proofing

31 January 2010

Following recent media speculation on the outcome of the $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), Federated Farmers is challenging the initiative to ensure it delivers radically improved broadband for over one million New Zealanders

“The Government should be thinking about a step change to future proof rural communities as it considers the outcome of its $300 million RBI,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive Officer.

“Federated Farmers is very ambitious, not just for rural New Zealand, but for all New Zealand. That’s why we are so passionate about the RBI and lobbied successfully to lift the investment level from $48 million to $300 million.

“While this still doesn’t match the level of investment going into the Urban Broadband Initiative, it is critical Government gets it right. They have an opportunity to set our rural communities up for the next quarter century with world beating broadband.

“We’re not just talking about download speeds because the upload speeds are also vital. Upload speeds means rural New Zealand can seize every digital opportunity.

“Federated Farmers bottom line is pretty simple. That is to get the greatest number of the one million Kiwis deemed ‘rural’ onto the fastest broadband as quickly as possible, as efficiently as possible and as cheap as possible.

“We need the infrastructure to deliver the step change this public investment deserves. We also need real competitive tension between the urban and rural initiatives to drive innovation and new services at the lowest cost.

“Take 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless being rolled out in Australia, India and China. We don’t want to put up with rural broadband speeds, which the cities had six years previously.

“Rural New Zealanders shouldn’t be second class citizens in their own country.

“Ultrafast rural broadband means more productivity and social connectedness because rural people are people too. We want to export protein and fibre from the country and not our people.

“Ultrafast rural broadband is a way for regional New Zealand to attract investment and people from the cities with the added attraction of lifestyle.

“Instead of overcrowding the cities, ultrafast rural broadband could take pressure off the environment and infrastructure in places like Auckland.

“Don’t forget that the one million Kiwis deemed ‘rural’ produce over 66 percent of our exports and provide the heart of our multi-billion dollar tourism industry too. Broadband is the next big enabler of productivity, which will assist New Zealand jump to the next economic level.

“New Zealand needs every export dollar it can get so the Government needs to back rural New Zealand with a genuine step change that will future proof them,” Mr English concluded.

ENDS

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