We have registered our interest to the government to be included in the funding towards broadband and mobile black spots.
The government is commitment to further upgrade and extend broadband services and the coverage of mobile networks in New Zealand. The 3 programmes are:
Ultra Fast Broadband 2 (UFB2) extension: aims to roll out the fibre network to 80 percent of New Zealanders in urban areas such as Gisborne city – there's funding of $210m for this initiative.
Rural Broadband 2 (RBI2) extension: aims to provide upgraded broadband services in rural areas such as rural townships and rural communities – there's funding of $100m for this initiative.
Mobile Black Spots (MBSF): aims to increase mobile services to tourist areas and priority areas on state highways where there's no broadband coverage of any kind at present – funding of $50m
Initial registration of interest
Our submission asked for existing wireless networks to be strengthened for better speed and capacity.
Gisborne has already had investment in UFB1 and RBI1 however from the information we have, there are gaps in connectivity. Our submission identified the following areas:
Makaraka was not included in the Ultra-Fast Broadband 1 allocation for Gisborne so we're asking for this to be included. It has a strong business case in terms of population density, current internet connectivity levels and mix of business and residential areas. It's also projected to get the highest population growth across the district over the next 20 years.
There appears to be reasonable coverage in many rural areas of Gisborne. Chorus has laid fibre connecting many schools and remaining areas and schools are serviced by wireless networks. The key issues include a small number of communities in valleys and pockets who don't have broadband access and the wireless networks that need strengthening to get better speed and capacity.
Mobile black spots
There's significant black spots along both state highways and key tourism sites, where there's no 3G mobile coverage of any provider. We've prioritised these sites based on the government criteria of road safety and tourism:
|Motu Trails||SH2 Gisborne to Napier||Rere Falls and Rockslide||SH2 Matawai - Opotiki|
|SH35 north of Hicks Bay||Eastwoodhill Arboretum||East Cape Lighthouse||SH35 Tikitiki - Te Araroa|
|SH35 Tolaga - Tokomaru||SH35 Pouawa - Tolaga||SH35 Te Puia Springs||SH35 Tikitiki|
We've based our work on maps provided by broadband and mobile providers such as Chorus and Vodafone. They've told us they are indicative only and accuracy is not 100%.
Central government will assess applications from all over New Zealand. Successful applications will demonstrate how they can ensure maximum uptake and use of the infrastructure.
Government will use the 'registration of interest' to identify projects and call for proposals from companies who can provide the broadband infrastructure.
The next stage that we have to complete called a Digital Enablement Plan (Digital Strategy) due in September 2015. We will use the strategy that we created for the Gigatown competition that outlined key actions we'll take as a district to improve digital literacy and to maximise the business, education, health, social and cultural benefits of broadband.
How to get involved
There'll be opportunities for the community to be involved in discussions over the next 3 months about future broadband and mobile connectivity in our district.