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Upgrades on the way for remote areas

Rural and remote South Wairarapa residents could soon be getting better internet connectivity.

National Party MP Melissa Lee asked the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark, what upgrades the area could expect this year.

Clark said a number of communities in South Wairarapa would get better connectivity under the Rural Capacity Upgrade programme.

“I understand that Crown Infrastructure Partners will soon be publishing a list of areas where works under the rural capacity upgrade are being undertaken on its website.”

Clark said the second phase of the rural broadband initiative was well underway, and many areas in South Wairarapa already experienced better connectivity than before, including Cape Palliser, Ngawi, and White Rock.

“Ruakokoputuna and Stony Bay will have a new tower under the programme early next year [2023].”

He said some people could be eligible for the remote user’s scheme, and applications were now open.

Crown Infrastructure Partners said the first phase of the remote user’s scheme aimed to provide a broadband internet service to an area by extending existing networks.

It said those still without coverage after this has been done, may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of up to $2000 towards set up and installation costs of a suitable broadband solution.

“It is expected that new broadband connectivity infrastructure for the eligible areas and households can begin being built in mid-2023.”

To be eligible for the scheme, the applicant should have a main residence in a rural or remote area.

Properties could include owner-occupied houses, tenanted dwellings, farmhouses occupied by share farmers, and occupied dwellings on Maori land.

The property should not already be capable of receiving a commercial broadband service or must have poor service.

“This will include both existing and planned coverage in the area.”

An application form can be filled out on Crown Infrastructure Partners’ website.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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