RBI boost would help rural NZ get better connected

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InternetNZ welcomes National's proposal to make $100 million available as a contestable fund to further extend the Rural Broadband Initiative.

Chief Executive Jordan Carter welcomed the proposed policy, saying that anything that helps our incredibly important rural sector get better connectivity will go some way towards building a better New Zealand through a better Internet.

"The RBI has seen some real gains in getting better Internet to rural New Zealand. It's very pleasing to see the growing focus by a wide range of political parties as they realise the potential and need for proposals that address the gap in connectivity. It shows that parties are treating ICT policies with the seriousness they deserve."

"Already we have seen Labour release a comprehensive ICT policy and now National is proposing some ambitious ideas.

"The idea of a contestable fund is great. It will allow communities to develop plans that really match their needs, rather than Wellington making all the decisions. Improving Internet accessibility is a core tenet of InternetNZ's and so anything that goes towards making New Zealand a 100% connected country receives our support," said Mr Carter.

While InternetNZ welcomes this new commitment, it also hopes that this is just the start of further investment in rural connectivity.

"While $100 million would be a substantial investment, it would not likely be sufficient to provide all of rural New Zealand with high quality, high speed connectivity.

"We hope this proposal spurs additional plans for private sector investment, and that whatever government takes office after the election keeps a watching brief on the state of rural connectivity. It's important to the country that we ensure that there is not a significant digital divide between rural and urban New Zealand," Jordan Carter says.

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