Residents of a small North Island rural community have started hooking up to a super-speed broadband service as the result of a joint initiative between a local body and technology providers.
In what is believed to be a first for the country, farmers in the Mangamaire district north of Eketahuna are laying their own cables to link into a new fibre optic network being installed in the Tararua district.
The internet service provided to Mangamaire and its 46-pupil school has a 100 megabit capacity, compared to about 15 or 20 megabits available through copper lines in downtown Auckland.
The fibre optic system runs through Mangamaire on its way from Norsewood to Eketahuna.
James Watts, of the internet and fibre service providers InspireNet and Digital Nation, said the core fibre runs down the side of the main road, so the company simply worked with residents to extend the fibre network across the paddocks to houses and the school.
So far the Mangamaire school and two farms have been hooked up.
Mr Watts is expecting to link another five to 10 households in the next month or so and will also be providing a wireless link for those who don't want to join the cable network.
Tararua District Council corporate services manager Peter Winsett is expecting other rural communiities will be queuing to join up as well, once the system is shown to work.