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Poor regions to miss out on better internet

Regional ratepayers will have to stump up as co-investors in hundreds of towns and communities to subsidise improved broadband access, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today.

“Despite calling for expressions of interest in March from all local authorities to access a new pool of funding to improve substandard internet connections, the government last week quietly changed the rules for how the money will be allocated.

“Councils will now have to stump up as co-investors alongside traditional internet providers to qualify for funding and the higher the amount of co-investment the more likely they will be to access government funding. Councils that can stump up will be at a real advantage when it comes to getting future-proofed.

“It’s our poorest regions that will suffer. This immediately disadvantages councils which are already struggling to deliver for their ratepayers. These regions are also likely to be in most need of improved investment in their broadband.

“Once again the government is neglecting regional New Zealand. Amy Adams is cementing the rural/urban digital divide that so concerns small town communities.

“Amy Adams is making it up as she goes along. This isn’t good enough for rural New Zealand,” says Clare Curran.