In the Electorate

Columns
Thursday, August 13, 2015

 The recent result for Pegasus Town residents, who will be first across the Canterbury region to benefit from a Vodafone infrastructure upgrade to deliver faster broadband, is certainly a great one.

The announcement was made last month following a public meeting I convened between residents and Vodafone representatives.

Since then, I’ve been meeting with constituents individually who are reporting connectivity issues. For Pegasus Town, the upgrades to Vodafone’s HFC network will result in internet speeds that are back at ultra-fast speed. Residents will enjoy three to four times the current capacity.

The first step I advise is for people to speak to their retailer. Your broadband plan or your modem can affect your Internet speed. The next step is to look at whether it’s an infrastructure issue, as it was with Pegasus Town, leading to a conversation with your communications infrastructure company, Chorus or Enable. 

Communications Minister Amy Adams has launched an online broadband map that helps people to source the best broadband options available to them. The map displays when ultra-fast broadband (UFB) or rural broadband (RBI) coverage is going to an area under the UFB and RBI programmes, and shows what services are available to individual addresses. To view your property, go to www.broadbandmap.nz. 

In Budget 2015 an extra $360 million has been set aside to deliver on Government’s promise to roll out world-class connectivity for Kiwis – $210 million for Ultra-Fast Broadband and $150 million for the Rural Broadband Initiative. These funds will secure the next stage of the UFB network, extending it to 80 per cent of New Zealanders, and contribute to major improvements in rural broadband. The Government is also establishing a mobile black sport fund of $50 million to expand mobile coverage on main highways and popular tourist areas.

 Local councils have a role to play in advocating for their communities and I was pleased to see how many people responded to the survey run by Enterprise North Canterbury to build a strong case for our area.