WDC to go hard for better broadband

Achieving better broadband services around the region is a big priority for Waikato District Council, according to its economic development manager Clive Morgan. He told Meremere’s Community Committee last week that council is expected to adopt a Digital Enablement Plan later this month.
The plan will then be submitted to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment so the district can get a share of money that has been made available by the Government to extend rural broadband services as well as fibre broadband around the country. The programme also plans to deal with a number of mobile blackspots.
“This will help more residents access available services and we can promote the internet as a business and community tool,” said Mr Morgan.
Submissions need to be in by September 18, 2015 and after that it is up to the ministry to negotiate with providers where the money will actually be going. He said a decision on this was originally expected by Christmas, but unfortunately this has been delayed until June next year.
Mr Morgan said the ministry has already released a list of 151 potential candidates for ultrafast broadband. “We know that Huntly, Raglan, Tuakau and Te Kauwhata are among the WDC communities on that list,” he said.
“We are going to work with providers to see what we can do to grow that list of communities.”
This could mean lobbying for Meremere to be included as it is just down the road from Te Kauwhata.
It is also likely that the line running north from Hamilton, a major hub in the ultrafast broadband project, will run directly past Meremere.
There might be an opportunity to take advantage of that, he said.

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