Teviot Valley Community Development Group member Stephen Jeffery. PHOTO: YVONNE O’HARAYVONNE O’HARA
speed broadband and the planned digital hub will be up and running once desks, computers, tablets and other gear have been installed in the Central Otago District Council’s Roxburgh Service Centre building in the next few months.
However, Teviot Valley Community Development Scheme Group chairman Stephen Jeffery said while the group expected the hub to be officially under way by October, or earlier if possible, free broadband access at the centre had been available since April.
Once the group has permission from the Central Otago District Council’s property services department, it intended to buy the equipment necessary to set up the hub.
“This [the hub] is something we can see as sustainable going forward,” he said.
The group wanted to bring high-speed broadband access to the valley earlier than the Government’s planned Rural Broadband Initiative 2, which was scheduled for completion in the area in 2022.
“Our goal is to make sure the whole valley is up to speed with the rest of the world,” he said.
“Anyone coming here at the moment will find the speed is as good as any.”
He said the faster service was a useful tourism tool and would also draw people to live in the valley.
The need for the hub was identified when the group commissioned feasibility studies to assess the potential of bringing high-speed broadband to the whole district.
Funding from the Department of Internal Affairs’ Community Development Scheme covered installation costs.
“Both of those studies gave us really good information to work with,” Mr Jeffery said.
Now the stand-alone, free, high-speed broadband service was available and would be useful for seasonal workers, backpackers, residents, business owners and tourists.
He said the group had originally looked at setting up a website for the valley, which would contain information about the area’s heritage, activities and job vacancies but decided that was unsustainable long-term.
The cost of maintaining a website and paying someone to run and update it would be prohibitive, so that idea was shelved for the moment.
However, the studies did reveal overseas workers wanted to be able to connect with their families at home and now they could.
The Teviot and Districts Museum would be able to e-hive (archive online) its records and the museum volunteers planned to start that in the next couple of months.
Linking to the system would be free, although printing would be a cost to the user.