Media Release: RURAL BROADBAND FUNDING MUCH NEEDED

May 1, 2020 2:49 am

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is pleased to hear the Government’s announcement of

new funding for improved rural broadband.

“Improving connectivity is vital to successful business, health and safety, education and social

connection in rural communities,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

“RWNZ would like to see the Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP’s) included in the

Government’s new rural broadband funding – they have filled the gap left by the big telcos in

getting internet into rural, remote and hard to reach areas of our country.

“We would also like to see a commitment to improving cellphone coverage in rural New

Zealand because with only 50 per cent coverage across New Zealand, it is the rural

communities missing out.

“Covid-19 has highlighted the issue of digital inequity with incredibly slow rural internet speeds

and landlines overloading.

“Children now being schooled at home are often struggling to get to their online

classes, women and children living with intimate partner violence are not able to contact

support services and the additional health and social service support offered online is only

available to those with adequate connectivity – it is our hope that this new funding from

Government will alleviate these issues.

“Across the board, self-isolation and restrictions on bubbles mean that it is vital that

communities have the tools to connect to, at the very least, maintain mental wellness.

“We know that rural communities tend to be resilient and supportive and this new funding from

the Government will, if allocated wisely, keep them that way,” says Ms Gower.

ENDS

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Angela McLeod, 027 497 2761 or

Fiona Gower, 09 232 9711 or 027 428 3884 (only available when in good coverage area).

 

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