Communications minister Amy Adams has announced completion of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network in Whakatane at a total cost of $12 million, bringing the number of fully fibred towns and cities to 20.
“Nearly 7000 homes and businesses in Whakatane can now connect to UFB and around 19 percent of those have taken up a service,” Adams said. All eight Whakatane schools have been connected and have joined the Network for Learning. A further 23,000 households and businesses in the wider Bay of Plenty region can also get broadband through the Rural Broadband Initiative.
However Adams said there was much still more to be done to improve connectivity throughout the Bay of Plenty. “In addition to the $1.65 billion funding for the UFB and RBI initiatives, the Government has committed an additional $360 million to extend both programmes to more New Zealanders,” she said.
The Government has set an aspirational target that would see 99 percent of New Zealanders able to access peak broadband speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2025.
Adams said local businesses now faced the challenge how working out how to use the UFB to transform the future. “It’s great to see tourism companies taking up UFB and using it to deliver a world-class visitor experience,” she said. “Tourism contributes more than $100 million to the Bay of Plenty economy and employs around 10 percent of the workforce. Better broadband is helping Whakatane and its tourism businesses thrive.”