Probing questions answered in broadband meeting

The meeting to sort out issues facing the regional broadband project was largely successful, says the project director Tony van Horik.

The meeting to sort out issues facing the regional broadband project was largely successful, says the project director Tony van Horik.

The provincial broadband extension project, PROBE, had faced uncertainty from some of the regions involved about the speed of the project. IDGNet understands some concern was voiced about the tendering process and whether regions would have a say in the final outcome.

But van Horik says a meeting held on Tuesday to address the concerns was a positive one and the project now has some national coordination.

"We've been trying to get regional coordination in place and now we've got to the next level where we can start looking at it from a national level."

Van Horik says most of the regions were represented at the meeting and he says there is "real cohesion" now about what happens next.

"Some of the regions have ideas of their own and concerns and hopefully we can, in a collaborative way, put those to bed."

Van Horik says the RFP process is still underway, albeit with its later deadline of September 9, and the project won't be leaping to any conclusions as to which technology will best suit all the regions, if there is in fact one solution for all.

"We're still going through the RFP process to flush out what solutions are around and some of the areas do have geographic peculiarities that are a concern, but we'll tackle that when we get the responses as to how much it will cost and how difficult it is."

The government announced in its latest budget that it would put aside "tens of millions of dollars" for the project to move on to the next stage: rollout of services. The project is being driven at government level by the Ministries of Education and Economic Development along with the State Services Commission and the Prime Minister's office.

IDGNet understands that Steve Canny, a representative from the Southland District Council, will be leading the regional representation in any future dealings with the various ministries.

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