By NICOLE SHARP
Internet speeds are continuing to increase in Central Otago, the latest upgrade to a Chorus cabinet in Springvale Rd between Clyde and Alexandra bringing benefits for residents, businesses and visitors in the area.
Chorus stakeholder and communications manager Steve Pettigrew said the area served by the Springvale Rd cabinet would have experienced an immediate increase in broadband speed.
“Individuals living within a radius of 1.2km would likely benefit by contacting their broadband retailer and asking to see if they can get VDSL.”
Many of the cabinet upgrades in Central Otago had involved updating from ADSL to VDSL, which was a significantly better and faster broadband service, he said.
At the same time, the Central Otago District Council (CODC) was continuing a drive for better internet and cellphone services throughout the district, and was lobbying for funding as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative 2 (RBI2) and mobile black spot funding, CODC economic development manager Warwick Hawker said.
While Central Otago had been making good progress with broadband, there was still quite a way to go, he said.
“These days, having faster broadband is basically like having electricity and water. It’s key infrastructure in a modern society and modern economy.”
While parts of Central Otago had received broadband upgrades as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative, the CODC was lobbying for more money as part of RBI2.
The council was also trying for mobile black spot funding.
Naseby was one of the areas to receive funding in the first round, and broadband services started in August.
Earlier this year, the CODC developed a digital enablement plan, which had been submitted to the Government, in a bid to have the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband 2 (UFB2), RBI2 and mobile black spot funding extended to the district.
The CODC had asked for UFB2 to be rolled out in Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell, Roxburgh and Ranfurly.
Alexandra, Clyde and Cromwell had been included in the initial list drawn up earlier this year but the council was still waiting to hear whether any of the towns in the district had been selected, Mr Hawker said.
A decision had been due before Christmas and, while the council had not yet heard what it was, it was feeling positive Central Otago might receive more funding.
The Government had asked councils to identify areas which needed more funding and the CODC had indicated where it believed such funding was called for, he said.
In Central Otago, this had included both the Kawarau Gorge and the Cromwell Gorge, for mobile black spot funding, as well as along the Otago Central Rail Trail.
All of the Otago councils had joined to put together a plan for the whole region, Mr Hawker said.
For RBI2, the CODC had highlighted the Ida Valley and much of the St Bathans-Cambrians area as needing faster broadband, he said.
People living in rural areas needed faster broadband as much as those in towns, he said.