Southland has many remote communities whose viability is undermined by poor access to communication services. Advocating for the improvement of the regions communication infrastructure is, therefore, an important part of our work programme.
Much of Southland’s productive sector and a significant proportion of support industries are based in rural areas where coverage remains slow, unreliable or unavailable, and many of Southland’s most popular tourist attractions and touring routes are also in areas where mobile services are limited.
To advocate for the region, and encourage the development of improved communications infrastructure, the following work has been carried out 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
- 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.
- Cohosting NetHui Southland with Internet New Zealand in 2018
On behalf of the Government, Crown Fibre Holdings Ltd is implementing the second round of the Rural Broadband programme (RBI2), the Ultrafast Broadband programme (UFB2) and the Mobile Blackspot Fund (MBF), which is 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. This involves ongoing work with regional stakeholders to explore the potential for a locally owned fibre network to service the rural areas.
More information on what we are doing to encourage connection, capability, and to allow Southlanders to benefit from improved services can be found in our 2015 Digital Strategy