10 Sep 2009

Broadband targets for rural areas announced

6:47 pm on 10 September 2009

Communications Minister Steven Joyce has announced coverage targets for the roll-out of broadband to rural communities.

Mr Joyce says the policy will cost about $300 million and be delivered through a mix of public and private funding.

Within six years, he expects 93% of rural schools to receive the fibre optic service and more than 80% of rural households will have access to broadband with speeds of at least five mega bits per second.

Mr Joyce says these targets, combined with the Government's ultra-fast broadband investment initiative, means 97% of New Zealanders will have access to broadband internet.

The minister says rural communities are an integral part of the economy and it is important that they do not fall behind.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicholson says the plans to deliver faster broadband services has been long awaited, as rural areas need a quicker service for for health, education and business.

However, some remote communities say if only 80% of rural households are guaranteed faster service, others will miss out.