MP Stuart Smith advises local authorities to submit UFB and RBI bids

Kaikoura news
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Local authorities have four more weeks to get their submissions in for phase two of the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), Kaikōura MP Stuart Smith says.

“These are both really important initiatives and so I urge local authorities to ensure they have their submissions in before the closing date next month”, Mr Smith says.
“Getting better connectivity in the regions is critical to improving and diversifying our economy. While there has been great progress made so far with these schemes, including the completion of the UFB rollout in Blenheim, there is still a lot to be achieved.”

The first phase of UFB is ahead of schedule with 46 per cent of the build complete and 618,000 end users able to connect to the network. Uptake is at 13.8 per cent across the country, taking the total number of end users connected to the network to 85,544.

Included in Budget 2015 is the $100m expansion of fast, reliable broadband to the regions and a $50m fund to extend mobile coverage in black spot areas such as along main highways and in popular tourist destinations.

“The regions are the backbone of our economy, and there is huge potential that is yet to be realised. Key to this is ensuring high-quality connectivity. Like other utilities, internet connectivity has become a vital service for homes and businesses”, Mr Smith says.

Registrations of Interest for phase two close 3 July.