Local government welcomes new broadband and mobile infrastructure funding

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has welcomed the Government’s decision to expand its broadband and mobile investment programmes, and the opportunities for communities to be involved in this process.

The Government intends to extend its Ultra-Fast Broadband by between $152 million and $210 million to achieve at least 80 per cent population coverage, and to extend its Rural Broadband Initiative with an extra $100 million. It will also establish a Mobile Black Spot Fund of $50 million to expand mobile coverage on main highways and popular tourist areas.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the Government’s decision to seek local government input on where funding is best distributed is important.

“This funding extension is an important step towards extending access to broadband and mobile services. We welcome the Government’s decision to work alongside local government to deploy funding to local communities, although we note that the limited funding will mean that not all communities will see an increase in service,” Mr Yule says.

“Improved communications infrastructure helps communities make use of broadband and mobile technology for better economic and social outcomes.”

“Better broadband improves business productivity and will help to attract businesses to our regions, which is in line with LGNZ’s policy priority for regional development and growth across all of New Zealand.”

The broadband and mobile infrastructure programme aims to allow rural New Zealanders to derive similar economic, educational, health and social benefits from digital technologies as is available in urban centres. The intended outcome is to increase employment opportunities; retain and attract new residents, employees and businesses; improve health and education outcomes and enable education, health and government services.

More information on the process is available via the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.