Telecom has won the Otago Probe wireless broadband contract, the 8th it has chalked up so far in the 15-region tender.
Other regions won by Telecom and partner BCL include Waikato, Taranaki and Wellington. Areas where it missed out to Woosh Wireless and Vodafone include Northland, Southland and Wairarapa.
Telecom is already providing broadband on a non-commercial basis to several rural Otago towns, the result of a deal in 2001 between it and the Otago Community Trust.
While the trust agreed to make up the shortfall if subscriber numbers in the towns didn't reach levels at which Telecom could make a profit, under Probe, the winner in each region is given a direct slice of the up to $20-$99 million allocated for Probe in last year's budget.
Education minister Trevor Mallard, said in a statement that Probe is expected to make broadband available to 55 rural schools in Otago.
Schools are the initial focus of Probe, with wider communities to also benefit from the availability of broadband.
The awarding of the Otago tender to Telecom brings the number of regions allocated a provider to 14, leaving only the 15th 'satellite region,' which covers remote parts of the country where conventional wireless broadband won't reach, still to be given a carrier.
Besides Telecom-BCL and Woosh Wireless-Vodafone, Counties Power has won one region and ThePacific.net another.