6 Nov 2009

Rural groups believe broadband plans unfair, inadequate

6:33 am on 6 November 2009

Rural organisations are continuing to press the Government on what they see as its inadequate plans for improving broadband internet coverage in rural areas.

They include Federated Farmers, which says that on a population basis alone the amount the Government is proposing to spend on rural broadband is unfair.

The Government has committed $1.5 billion to speeding up broadband services for three-quarters of the population, living in urban areas.

Federated Farmers telecommunications spokesperson Donald Aubrey says rural New Zealand will be getting a total of about $300 million from direct government funding and industry levies, which means that it is being short-changed by $200 million.

Rural Women New Zealand, meanwhile, is concerned that the gap will simply widen between residents who already have reliable internet connections and those who do not.

Executive officer Noeline Holt says that rather than focus on providing ultra-fast broadband for schools and surrounding communities, the priority should be getting broadband coverage to all rural households.