12 Jun 2013

Telecos seen as snubbing Maori broadband

6:41 am on 12 June 2013

Three Northland iwi say the major telecommunication companies are giving a Maori-run high-speed broadband cable a wide berth.

They are disappointed Telecom and Vodafone don't want to lease part of the fibre-optic link between Auckland and Whangarei.

The $30 million project is led by Ngati Whatua, Te Rarawa and Whaingaroa, and the second leg of the cable will eventually stretch further north to Waitiki Landing, close to Cape Reinga.

Te Rarawa chair Haami Piripi said the big telecommunication companies are not used to Maori being powerful players in the broadband market and they haven't been keen on Maori organisations getting in on the act.

Mr Piripi said companies like Telecom and Vodafone have for a long time been either a monopoly or duopoly and have completely controlled the industry.

He said the Maori consortium operates the only high-speed link between Auckland and Whangarei.

Mr Piripi said they have managed to lease some of the cable to other customers.

The project is funded by China's state-owned Telecom.