Venture Southland advocates at every possible opportunity for the improvement of the regions communications infrastructure.
Much of Southland’s productive sector and a significant proportion of support industries are based in rural areas where internet and mobile coverage remains slow, unreliable or unavailable. Southland has many remote communities whose viability is undermined by poor access to communication services. Many of Southland’s most popular tourist attractions and touring routes are also in areas where broadband and mobile services are limited.
To advocate for the region Venture Southland has undertaken significant work including:
- Undertaking a Digital Survey of the region to identify where there was a need for improved mobile and internet connectivity.
- Investigating mobile coverage on state highways and other key routes to identify where coverage was lacking.
- Facilitating an independent expert review of long term options for telecommunications in Southland.
- Completing a Southland internet speed test survey and submitting to the Rural Broadband Initiative, Ultra-Fast Broadband, and Mobile Black Spot Fund Crown Fibre processes.
These processes are being led by Crown Fibre Holdings Ltd, on behalf of the Government, to implement the second round of the Rural Broadband programme (RBI2), the Ultrafast Broadband programme (UFB2) and the Mobile Blackspot Fund (MBF), which is a new fund designed to improve mobile coverage on key tourism routes.
A Venture Southland-led bid to include Te Anau, Riverton West, Bluff, Winton and Otatara in the ultra-fast broadband (UFB) rollout was approved by the Government in January 2017 resulting in $13.3 million being allocated.
Venture Southland continues to explore with regional stakeholders the potential for a locally owned fibre network to service the rural areas.