Chance for fast internet

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A one-off opportunity to get Tamahere and Matangi serviced by ultra-fast broadband (UFB) and give the area fast internet is in the pipeline.

Fibre-optic cable
UFB delivered by fibre-optic cabling would significantly increase internet download and upload speeds

The Waikato District Council says it is prepared to lobby central government for investment in UFB for the area and local district councillor Wally Hayes is urging locals to get behind the initiative.

Initially, the council has sought the views of 1400 locals in a survey designed to indicate the likely demand for faster internet speeds, and whether residents are prepared to contribute to installation costs.

“This is our one and only opportunity in the foreseeable future to get ultra-fast broadband infrastructure rolled out in the higher density areas within the Tamahere and Matangi communities at an affordable price,” Hayes told Tamahere Forum.

“To achieve this, we need to help ourselves and do this together. Having UFB will future proof our properties with what is now, for many people and businesses, core infrastructure.”

Hayes urged those receiving the survey, which was in mailboxes this week, to give a “strong show of support.”

Missed out?

The council will send a copy of the survey to any other residents who wish to complete it. Phone the council on 0800 492 592 or email consult@waidc.govt.nz The deadline for the survey response is Friday, May 20.

Update, April 26: The freephone number is not working today. If it continues to be out of order try the council’s other number, 07 824 8633.

The council is also holding a public meeting at the Tamahere Community Centre at 7.30pm on Thursday, May 5 to discuss the background to the initiative and gauge support for it.

Strong demand

If earlier appeals for faster internet are a guide backing should be strong for the WDC’s initiative. After a December 2013 story on Tamahere Forum headlined Who’d like super fast internet? a lively debate followed in the website’s comment section.

Waikato District Council General Manager Strategy and Support Tony Whittaker said because Tamahere and Matangi were rural areas they were not included in the Crown-funded plan for UFB. Instead, the areas were in the Crown’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) which was a cellular based service, and residents now got broadband services through a mix of cellular, Wi-Fi, and copper telephone lines, which were at full capacity.

“Council inquiries indicate it is highly unlikely fibre-optic cabling for UFB will be laid in the area without a significant commercial investment, as well as a financial contribution from customers community-wide,” Whittaker said.

“We are acting on past feedback from residents indicating the majority are not satisfied with current broadband services to Tamahere and Matangi, but we want to ascertain the depth of support in the community for a new approach before we decide to take it further.”

Fast internet advantages

UFB delivered by fibre-optic cabling would significantly increase download and upload speeds, remove the current cap on capacity and dramatically improve the reliability of internet services, the council said.

Fibre optic cables can carry large ‘packets’ of data at high speeds over long distances. This means fibre-based UFB provides substantially greater future proofing than any other type of internet service.

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