Work has begun to lay the cables for the Nelson part of the Government's ultra-fast broadband network.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams who was in Nelson to mark the occasion, says once completed, the network will connect to more than 20,000 premises in Nelson and Richmond.
The first customers are expected to be able to connect to the network by October.
By July next year, the network will extend to about 6,000 businesses, medical premises and households in the two regions.
Four schools will also be connected, adding to the 37 schools which already have fibre connections.