Webmaster Andy Williamson is working with two West Auckland community groups in a bid to get high-speed internet access from their localities.
Neither Laingholm nor Karekare, the former in the hilly Waitakere ranges and the latter on Auckland’s rugged west coast, has access to Telecom’s ADSL service, says the Laingholm man.
Williamson, who chaired a meeting last week of local residents’ groups and Waitakere and Auckland city officials and community board representatives, says Laingholm is 7.5km from the Titirangi exchange and most residents don’t have line-of-sight to the Sky Tower or the BCL Waitatarua transmission mast in the Waitakeres.
“If connecting with a modem my typical connection speed is 19Kbit/s, and if you have a better modem, a better connection or are just lucky and get a good line, you can go faster — up to 28Kbit/s.”
He acknowledges that Karekare, especially, is a geographic challenge for fixed line providers and its location on the coast with steep hills rising right behind it also makes wireless access difficult.
However, he cites a similar initiative in Southland, where several small towns will get Telecom’s JetStream ADSL service under a deal underwritten by the Otago Community Trust, which ensures Telecom won’t lose out financially by providing the service.
Last week’s meeting resulted in an agreement that the association and trust would present a position statement at the next Waitakere Community Board meeting, asking for the Laingholm and Karekare communities to be involved in the development of the internet in West Auckland.
Those present also endorsed the principle that the Waitakere City Council should create a community advisory group to develop internet initiatives, Williamson says.
The two communities and Waitakere City have an “online community hall”, FreeSpeak, where issues can be debated and discussed.